The Failing Punitive System Of Today 's Society

Good Essays
Julia Schulman
Ms. Roberts
English 10-7*
February 17, 2017

The Failing Punitive System of Today’s Society

As a society, prisoners terrify us. We are scared of the rigid box that we’ve forced them into through their portrayal in television, news, and other sources of media. The answer to this issue may lie in the punitive system of our country, that focuses on revenge instead of rehabilitation, and admits a recidivism rate of 76.6 percent. (Vera Institute of Technology, “The Price of Prisons”). With statistics that frightening, how can we be expected to treat criminals like functioning members of society when statistics prove otherwise? We must change the facts. Through the decrease of the maximum time in Solitary confinement, the
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From the same source, a former prisoner, Joe, states, “ The cell became pitch black. I stayed like that for ten days… I was locked in the cell for 23 hours a day. Some guys would go months without rec or shower.” These are human beings that we have promised the right against “Cruel and Unusual Punishment.” I believe this constitutes as a major violation. This could cause numerous lawsuits and cost the judicial system our tax money.
The New York Times stated on January 4, 2016 that, “What goes on inside these prisons is largely hidden from view, and there is little accountability for wrongdoing.” While there has been a successful movement toward police transparency, prisons are largely neglected. “The state pointed out in a 2006 audit that the commission had essentially defaulted on that responsibility. Nine years later, little has changed.” (New York Times, “What’s Going on in Our Prisons.”) It seems as if there are not many people checking on the higher-uppers in prisons. It creates a situation in which unlimited power is given. This psychological phenomenon is best conveyed by the famous Stanford Prison Experiment, created by Philip Zimbardo. In his book, “The Lucifer Effect,” he explains how treating a person in a certain way, can prompt them to act like what is expected. Zimbardo’s study was composed of young men who took on the role as either guard or prisoner. It was shut down within six days
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