The American Penal System : The United States Essay

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The American Penal System Crime has been an ever-present figure in America even before America officially became a country. Where there is crime, there must be a way to suppress it. That is where prisons come into play. When a person commits a crime, he or she might stay in a prison while awaiting trial and might also stay in a prison as a punishment if that trial does not end in his or her favor. According to The Sentencing Project, as of 2015, the United States’ rate of incarceration was the highest in the world, standing at 698 people per 100,000 people. That means that nearly 2.3 million people in 2015 were behind bars. Because of this, the United States penal system needs to be extremely substantial, growing and changing to compensate for America’s growing and changing society. The American penal system has changed vastly over time, developing laws, practices, and major reforms to make it more efficient and effective; however, some question whether it is actually working. America’s penal system has been influenced by many countries and people, and it has been changing to compensate for our growing nation since Colonial times. Imprisonment was uncommon in the early 1700s; only political and religious offenders and debtors were punished in that way. Two types of institutions during this period were utilized: jails or prisons and workhouses. The jails and prisons of that time were also used to hold the accused who were awaiting trial. Most criminals were punished using
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