The Incarceration Of The United States

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Since 2002, The United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world, and many of those imprisoned within the U.S. will be released and rearrested within three years (Langan & Levin, 2002). Unfortunately, research has been mixed shown that the time spent in prison does not successfully rehabilitate most inmates, and the majority of criminals return to a life of crime almost immediately. Most experts believe that many prisoners will learn more and better ways to commit crimes while they are locked up with fellow convicts. There is a combination of programs and environmental conditions that impact the recidivism rates. The majority of prisons exist to protect the public and punish the offender (French & Gendreau, 2006; Langan &…show more content…
His policies caused the growth of a massive corrections system that currently houses an estimated 2.2 million inmates. Since the 1970’s federal and state correction agencies have consistently struggled to meet the increased demands brought on by the US Department of Justice and strict drug laws; this in turn created the opportunity for Corrections Corporation of America to form, the largest private prison network in the United States (Godard, T 2015). With the precedent it set with the first private detention center, CCA changed the face of US corrections for good. The private sector became the quick fix to the problem of overcrowded and understaffed public prisons. The penal system in the United States is often portrayed as being tough on crime, but to many other western nations the penal system in the United States is viewed as a broken system (Mallory, 2006). While this is a tough critique, the American incarceration rate is the highest in the world at over 714 per 100,000 U.S. citizens (Walmsley, 2008). This rate is much higher than many of other western European countries, whose average incarceration rate is only 95 per 100,000 citizens (Stern, 2002; Walmsley, 2008). America’s higher rate of incarceration might be more acceptable if it resulted in a safer society. Consequently, one could reasonably conclude that the United States’ political agenda for increasing punishment to decrease crime yields an ineffective result. Therefore, in the
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