The Incarceration Of The United States

2529 Words Aug 10th, 2015 11 Pages
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 & Levin, 2002). Although protecting the general public should be the primary function of prison systems, increased attention should be placed on educating and rehabilitating inmates to prevent cyclic nature of offence, arrest, release, and repeat.
The American legal system has changed substantially in the past 40 years. In the 1970’s, lawmakers were dealing with a nationwide rash of drug-use and crime. In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a nation-wide war on drugs and set a precedent for strict policies towards drug-related crime. New York governor Nelson Rockefeller followed suit declaring “For drug pushing, life sentence, no parole, no probation.” His policies once put into action promised 15 years to life in prison for drug users…
Open Document