Criminal justice Reform

People are arrested every day in the United States. They are put on probation or sent to jail, and sometimes they are let out on parole; there are millions of people affected. In 1995 alone there were over five million people under some form of correctional supervision, and the number is steadily increasing. The incarceration rate is skyrocketing: the number of prison inmates per 100,000 people has risen from 139 in 1980 to 411 in 1995. This is an immense financial burden on the country. Federal expenditure for correctional institutions alone increased 248% from 1982 to 1992. Obviously something has to be changed in the justice system. If the crime rate is rising this much, the correctional justice system isn’t functioning properly, and needs to be reformed. Many people have offered theories as to what should be done with the prison system, the extremes being retributivism and the therapeutic model, but what they all seem to have overlooked is that there is no single system that works for everyone. Blanket generalizations as to the nature of the criminal mind cannot be made. Every criminal is different, with different motivations and different psychological characteristics so that different things are required to make them repent or deter them from further criminal activity, and I believe that the solutions offered are not enough to lower the crime rate and prison population. Something needs to be done on a more fundamental level so that fewer people turn to crime in thefirst place, thereby providing the prison system with the freedom to improve the attention it gives to the people that do become criminals; my solution is a combination of economic reform and educational opportunity that would give people less reason to commit crimes. The extreme right reform proposition, retributivism, is flawed mainly because it seems to assume that showing people that what they’ve done is wrong will always accomplish something, and that every priso…

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