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Criminal Justice

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Autor:   •  July 18, 2011  •  1,598 Words (7 Pages)  •  416 Views

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Is the Criminal justice system doing its job to uphold its name? Many believe that Americas Criminal justice system is still experiencing problems with having the ability to decrease crime rates and giving citizens the feeling of safety in their homes and communities. Criminals, in the United States seem to get harsher punishment and much longer sentences than all other industrialized countries. It seems instead of preserving tranquility, the justice system allows social instability. Can it truly be called a system? The real question here is what is being done wrong in their policy and how will the criminal justice system resolve issues of violence, crime and safety.

Are prisons a way of reducing crime rates? Paul Leighton, a Professor in the Dept of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology at Eastern Michigan University believes prisons are part of a comprehensive crime-fighting regime, but they are only a small component. Excessive reliance on prisons brings little additional safety. Imprisonment occurs long after the crime has been committed and mostly incapacitates an offender from committing more crimes against people on the outside. It does not prevent crime and inmates frequently come out of prison worse than they went in, with few additional skills or pro-social behavior. Overall, high rates of incarceration have little or no correlation to rates of crime. States with high rates of incarceration may or may not have high rates of crime. States with low rates of crime may or may not have high rates of incarceration. Similarly, states that embark on massive prison construction programs may or may not show declines in crime.

The number of people locked up has quadrupled since 1980. There were are over 2 million people in prisons and jails nationwide. An additional 4.7 million people are on probation or parole (Leighton, 2007). The thing that many people don’t seem to notice is that much of our prison population increases were in areas of nonviolent offenders. “In Texas, for example, a study found that 77 percent of all the prisons admissions were for nonviolent crimes. In California, people who committed less harmful offenses were the ones that went to prisons at a higher rate than then the ones that committed serious crimes (Victor, 2008) Nonetheless, the different rates are showing an extremely minimal effect on the decline of crime rates, as well as confirming that this system is provoking adverse consequences to individuals.

The way money is used and distributed in the criminal system is also an important issue concerning interference with the policy. Did You know that a large majority of the money spent on taxes is later processed and used in the prison construction and operations industry. It costs $100,000 to build a new prison cell, $200,000 over 25 years to pay interest on the construction debt, and $22,000 a year to operate the cell. The nation is always increasing its prison population, opening the equivalent of 3 new 500 bed prisons every week, but most of the increase in prison admissions were for non-violent offenses (Leighton, 2007). Basically, instead of using this money for more quality of life programs such as funding for education, it is used to house convicted criminals. “Every year an inmate spends in prison costs taxpayers at least $22,000 per year, without counting the hidden costs. The older they get, the higher the costs. For the ones over the age of fifty, annual costs can reach up to $69,000. Also, juveniles can cost any where between $35,000 and $100,000 per year depending on where they are detained, because they need more services such as education and more supervision (Leighton, 2008).” These high expenses have caused national level correctional spending to have increased faster than any other division. Does this much of our money really need to be spent on people who have entitled themselves with imprisonment? Many other ways of spending this money could be put into consideration. Perhaps more needs to be done with youth programs in order to deal more with the prevention of violence as an alternative to the preservation. This country should not be relying on prisons for there main response to the increase in criminal behavior.

The Criminal justice system should attempt to concentrate further on the violent criminals and provide them with justified sentences. Any type of imprisonment of nonviolent offenders is completely useless. If they are not presenting any harm to the society then it is not necessary. There are other countries in the world that have around the same crime rate as the U.S, however the incarceration rate is much lower. The reason for this is they are doing what we need to start. There is available safety in regards to children dealing with poverty, there is a form of control on different gun types, they have condensed the sentences of crimes with no violence, and most of all there is a great importance of having rehabilitation programs involved throughout their prisons. Four things in which we seem to be avoiding.

If worst comes to worst, like it seems to be with our economy, we can always turn to civilians to help by using there own type of justice system. First it was gas prices, then foreclosure rates, price of rice, and now the amount of tips being called in to police in hopes of collecting reward money. Calls to the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers hot line in the first quarter of this year were up 30 percent over last year. San Antonio had a 44 percent increase. Cities and towns from Detroit to Omaha to Beaufort County, N.C., all report increases of 25 percent or more in the first quarter, with tipsters telling operators they need the money for rent, light bills or baby formula (Dewan and Goodman, 2008).If this keeps up our nations criminal justice system may be out of a job. “We have people out there that, realistically, this could be their job,” said Sgt. Zachary Self, who answers Crime Stoppers


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