Prison Overcrowding or Typically, Mass Incarceration, Is Essay

Total Length: 1043 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

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Prison overcrowding or typically, mass incarceration, is the most threatening issue in virtually every state and in many municipalities all over U.S.. It has been reported that the imprisonment rate in U.S. is seven times as much as in Europe and it is equivalently increasing with the increase in population. Inmate populations are escalating due to a great number of sentencing to jails and prisons and the number of repeat offenders returning there is growing too. The main point to ponder is where the actual problem lies and why only in U.S., the rate of sentencing to prisons is so high? Briefly, the problem lies within the entire system. The various components of the criminal justice system do not act independently of one another rather these are inter-related and the system is directly impacted by each component. In most of the states, a significant number of non-violent and juvenile activists such as drug abusers are put in jails for a long time, which can simply be rehabilitated and released as socially advantageous persons. Such minor cases, when treated as majors, create court dockets and hence it takes much time to listen and to decide the sentencing. Usually such cases are given correctional sentences; ranging from probation, community service, and community corrections to jail and prison time. Hence, eventually our correctional institutions get filled up and become highly overcrowded.

Another important and severe issue of prison overcrowding is racial discrimination and injustice in U.S.' criminal system. As a matter of fact, most incumbents are African-Americans who are around one-third of their total community in number.
The issue of social inequality with people of color is not new to U.S., since the impacts of slavery and racial superiority are still holding the most of White community of the country. It is usually argued that U.S. judicial system prefers rich Whites over poor Blacks and they are treated leniently. But the figures indicate that the number of Blacks who commit serious or non-serious crimes is almost triple to Whites. The two articles under discussion are related to the same issue; one is the July 24, 2009 editorial of The Philadelphia Inquirer with the title "Inequality Under Law," and the other is in the 2004 edition of American Sociological Review, with the title "Mass Imprisonment and the Life Course: Race and Class Inequality in U.S. Incarceration" by Petit and Western.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the black population all over U.S. is disproportionally poor and they lack of basic necessities of life. Also, the community is deprived of education, skills and professions which repel them to have a better and civilized mode of living. The youth of today's African-American community get indulged in both juvenile and mature crimes and must visit prisons and jails at least twice in their lives. For such poor people, it has become normal and usual to go to jails and to spend a great deal of their life-time over there due to delays in hearings and correctional sentencing. Also, the law enforcement agencies and the court panels are reported to treat them more harshly compared to any White with the….....

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