The Criminal Justice System Across The Country Essay

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The criminal justice system across the country is designed to punish and strive to rehabilitate those who have committed offenses against the law. Compared to some of the harshest regimes in the world, the United States has a harsh history of mass incarceration. American prisons maintain nearly 25 percent of the world’s prison population. Of the nearly 2.3 million incarcerated, 1 million are African Americans (NAACP). The poverty-stricken in America, especially those who are persons of color, face a greater risk of incarcerated for minor offenses than their white counterparts. People charged and or convicted of crimes are overwhelmingly poor. The Prison Policy Initiative finds that incarcerated people have a median annual income of $19,185 prior to their incarceration which is 41% less than that of non-incarcerated individuals of a similar age (“Prisons of Poverty”). Both race and socio-economic status plays a critical role in the inequality that takes place in the criminal justice systems. Over the last half century, the total number of those imprisoned has spiked dramatically as crime rates have sharply dropped since the early 1990’s. Experts offer varied explanations for the troubling growth of the American prison industrial complex, including the War on Drugs, harsh mandatory minimum sentences and a system largely incapable of handling suspects with mental health issues (Lee). Across the United States, the cost of the justice system is paid increasingly by the
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