The United States ' Criminal Justice System

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The United States’ criminal justice system has been under scrutiny by countries of equal standing for good reason, what this country is doing, in an attempt to eliminate crime, is not working. Currently, in the United States, we are living in an era of “mass incarceration.” Almost 1% of men in this country and .1% of women are incarcerated (Phelps). With an incarceration rate of roughly 693/100,000 The U.S. stands far behind it’s NATO counterparts with the next highest rate of incarceration, in the United Kingdom, at roughly 145/100,000 (Wagner et al.). These high incarceration rates are reason for concern, and many researchers have begun to suggest solutions to this dilemma. In order to begin to solve this problem, we need to further…show more content…
Tittle goes on to suggest different definitions, equating rehabilitation to law abiding behavior and stating that lower recidivism rates can be seen as proof of successful rehabilitation (Tittle, 386). Over 95% over our current prison population will be released back into society (James). While all four goals of our criminal justice system are important, it seems as though rehabilitating our former prisoners to better assimilate back into a law-abiding society should be our biggest priority.
This “war on drugs,” initiated by Nixon, has been embraced by all presidents since and focuses on goals of incapacitation, retribution, and deterrence. In the 1970’s, more money was allocated to criminal justice, more strict laws were passed, more prisons were built, and more arrests were made. All of which pertaining to drug law enforcement (Anon, 2016). The implementation of the “war on drugs”, also brought about mandatory minimum sentences. These sentences invoke a specific minimum amount of time required to be served for each crime of which the defendant is convicted. This practice takes discretion away from judges and shifts responsibility to the prosecutors to decide with what to charge the defendant (Anon, 2016). These mandatory minimums also do not allow for the whole picture of the crime to be considered when deciding a verdict. The idea of
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