The Penal and Judiciary System: The High Cost of Incarceration

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Although prisons have a few positive aspects such as keeping felons off the streets and being less final than the death penalty, they have many negative aspects as well such as tearing families apart, causing severe psychological harm to the children of inmates, costing 47,102 dollars a year in California alone (California Judicial website), and causing many problems for the inmates in the long run. Fundamentally the use of incarceration is intended to reform and rehabilitate offenders of society’s laws; however, America’s prison system usually makes matters much worse for the offender, his or her family, and society as a whole. The illustrations below show that there is a severe need for reform in the penal system. There are several…show more content…
After all, nothing is more final than death, and if more evidence comes forward that proves the innocence of the convict he or she cannot be brought back to life. Even if prisons act as a boot camp for criminals, while in prison the inmates cannot commit crimes against the wider populace. Incarceration is usually used for punishment as main motives of society’s acceptance or desire for offenders to be “thrown in jail. If the punishment exceeds a reasonable correlation to the offense (i.e. punishment fits the crime) then the punished will resent the punishment and will hold ill will toward the punisher. With negative attitudes and feelings of bitterness, the incarcerated are not likely to learn their lesson, repent or go and sin no more. They are more likely to learn more efficient ways to break society’s laws from other convicts. Incarcerations as retribution tend to create a polarization between “us” (outlaws, outsiders) and them (those in power, the insiders). A high proportion of inmates came from the “outsiders” (i.e. poverty, lower class, or marginalized) in the first place. So, they view the police, the courts, and the prison as the instruments of those in power who control the systems of the dominate culture or “the man.” There needs to be major reform in the area of the type of criminals incarcerated in state and federal

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