25, September 2013
Political Science 100
More Prisons Should Not be the Answer
It seems in the beginning of the twenty-first century that there are many challenges facing the justice system. One of those challenges is our prison system and it costs to the taxpayer. Questions are being thrown at the politicians in abundance in hopes for an answer, but to little or no avail. Something is stopping us from making wiser, more cost-effective solutions to the prison population in America. Another possibility is that we just don’t care and are not informed enough as to where the money from our taxes is going and what the alternatives are. The days of speeches from our elected officials that are filled with “Get tough on crime,” and “Lock them up and throw away the key” are obsolete, and the effects of those words are appearing in our budget shortfalls.
An article that came out not very long ago in the Washington Post by Newt Gingrich (former speaker of the House) and Pat Nolan (former California State Assemblyman) stated: “There is an urgent need to address the astronomical growth in the prison population, with its huge costs in dollars and lost human potential. We spent $68 billion in 2010 on corrections -300 percent more than 25 years ago. The prison population is growing 13 times faster than the general population. These facts should trouble every American.”
According to Adam Liptak, the United States leads the world with a total of 2.3 million people behind bars. The study compared several different countries (Japan, China, and Russia) and found that China, with over one billion people, came in a distant second with 1.6 billion people incarcerated. It also pointed out that the U.S has 5 percent of the world population, but makes up 25 percent of the global population. It is clear that the U.S. has no problem implementing the theory of crime equals punishment, but when the cost is transferred to the taxpayer, and the cycle of crime does not appear to...