The Pros And Cons Of Incarceration

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In a courtroom, a young man awaits his fate. He was caught with a small amount of cocaine. He expects 5 years in prison, but the judge offers up something else. The young man can either do time, or work with a program to finish his college education and get a job, and the young man instantly chooses schooling. Since around the 1970’s, America has had rising incarceration rates (Brooks). “The growth of America's Prison population is currently 3 times the rate of its generic population growth” (Pew), but incarceration does very little other than punish and most likely scar inmates. However alternative programs have arrived. Here in Philadelphia, one such program is The Choice is Yours. Because incarceration isn't exactly helping prisoners, The Choice is Yours is much cheaper than maintaining prisons, and is an excellent reintegration program. Why is incarceration not helping anyone? The prison system doesn’t reintegrate the inmates back into society; they just release them. Some have called prisons “schools for crime” (Mitchell). This is because first-timers are exposed to new ways on how to commit crime and get away with it, and with such knowledge, they end up back in a cell. An Urban Institute study found that of 106,849 prisoners incarcerated from 1996 to 2003, half were repeat offenders (Mitchell). More and more people who are released end up back behind bars. In most cases, prisons don’t offer any education, which could help them adjust back into the real world with
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