Why Prisons Don Not Work

Why Prisons Don Not Work

  • Submitted By: rmaurer
  • Date Submitted: 01/17/2009 8:57 AM
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 890
  • Page: 4
  • Views: 1558

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Why Prisons do not Work

Prisons should keep dangerous criminals off the streets and create a deterrent for committing a crime. The prison system has failed to do either. Originally, prisons were designed as holding facilities for people awaiting trial. This kept them off the streets and out of trouble until they received their real punishment. The criminal justice system has strayed into using prisons as a punishment. Prisons are now warehousing criminals. The prison system in the United States does not work due in part to overcrowded cells, financial struggles, and poor prisoner control.
Prison overcrowding is both inhumane to the prisoner and dangerous to the prison staff. The criminal justice system is locking up any and every person who commits a crime. Crowding affects more than a selected few inmates within the prison environment (Paulus, P. 1978). Crowding has been described as an interactive variable, which can sometimes cause, sometimes result from or sometimes exacerbate the impact of other conditions. Prisons should only be used for locking up violent offenders that are too dangerous to be part of the general population. Since infractions result in a “failure to adjust” label, and since adjustment is a major criterion for progress through the system, a slow-down in the advancement of inmates can easily be predicted. (Clements, 1982, p. 76). Less violent offenders like drug dealers, petty thieves, and embezzlers should be put in work programs. For some people, prisons are becoming second homes for people to escape from their poor lifestyle. In some cases, homeless people will commit small
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crimes to get locked up during cold weather. There are a lot of cases where offenders have been locked up for ten to twenty years and do not want to get out of prison because they are afraid they would not be accepted or would not know how to survive in society. Essentially, the effects of overcrowding and...

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