Include a thesis statement about mass incarceration.
State the main idea of each paragraph as a declarative sentence.
Indicate supporting details/arguments/sources for each paragraph.
Now that you have become well informed about the characteristics and causes of mass incarceration, your final assignment is to write an outline in which you use sources (described below) to support your own judgment about some aspect of mass incarceration and criminal justice reform. Because your job in this essay is to persuade a reader to agree with your point of view, it’s up to you to decide what argument you want to make. I have identified several topics, with suggested readings, below – but you may choose a slightly different topic if you talk it over with me first.
Sources, Documentation and MLA Format
· You should use at least two new sources (i.e. sources you have not used in previous assignments).
· Avoid excessive quotation (no more than about 20% of your essay’s words).
· Document sources using MLA style – both in-text citation and a Works Cited list.
· Using a source’s words without enclosing them in quotation marks is plagiarism. Using or quoting from sources that you do not cite in the text and Works Cited list is plagiarism.
· All drafts should be formatted double-spaced, in 12-point type. Include a word count on the last page.
Assume that your reader may know a little about the topic (for instance, you could assume they know the information contained in the James Cullen article “The History of Mass Incarceration” or have seen the film 13th). But do not assume that your reader is especially knowledgeable or has read the other sources you have read. That means that some of your essay will have to be an explanation, summarizing facts about the topic.
frailty under conditions of poverty puts people at risk of becoming, simultaneously, the perpetrators and victims of violence.”
Mass incarceration is destroying America. Mass incarceration refers to the high number of people held in prisons and jails in the United States. According to Sawyer ret al. (2020) “The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories” (p.1). The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Criminal Justice Reform is an effort to improve the criminal justice system and reduce the number of people being incarcerated through changes in laws, policies, and practices. Reform efforts aim to reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities in the criminal justice system, improve conditions in prisons and jails, and enhance support for rehabilitation and reentry programs for people who have been incarcerated. According to Sawyer et al. (2020), mass incarceration refers to the high number of individuals incarcerated in the United States, which disproportionately impacts communities of color. The number of incarcerated individuals in America has increased dramatically in recent decades, leading to a system often criticized for being unjust, inhumane, and costly.
Mass incarceration in America is rampant. The root causes of mass incarceration in America can be traced back to the “war on drugs” and “tough on crime” policies that were implemented in the 1980s and 1990s (Sawyer, 2020). These policies resulted in longer sentencing guidelines, mandatory minimum sentences, and the elimination of parole for many offenses, leading to an increase in the number of people behind bars. African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately represented in the prison population, which significantly impacts their ability to participate in society and access opportunities for education, employment, and housing. Additionally, the children of incarcerated individuals are also affected, often experiencing long-term trauma and emotional and behavioral regulation difficulties. This paper discusses the remedies for mass incarceration in America.
Making criminal justice reform efforts in America aim to reduce mass incarceration and address the underlying problems of the criminal justice system. According to Beckett (2018), reforms include changes to sentencing laws, reducing mandatory minimum sentences, increasing the use of alternatives to incarceration, such as community supervision, and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system. It could also involve reviewing and reducing the number of non-violent offenses resulting in prison sentences, such as drug offenses. In recent years, there has been some progress in criminal justice reform at the state and federal levels. For example, in 2018, the First Step Act was signed into law to reduce the number of individuals incarcerated in federal prisons and address racial disparities in the criminal justice system (Beckett, 2018). Additionally, several states have passed laws to reduce the number of individuals incarcerated for non-violent offenses, such as drug offenses. Thus, making criminal justice reforms can help solve the issue of mass incarceration.
Addressing the root causes of crime is another remedy for mass incarceration. According to Stewart (2018), addressing the root causes of crime, such as poverty, drug addiction, and lack of access to education and employment is essential. By addressing these underlying issues, it is possible to reduce the number of people who enter the criminal justice system in the first place; This can be done through investments in social programs and initiatives, as well as by addressing systemic inequalities in the criminal justice system. Thus, addressing the root causes of crime can help reduce mass incarceration.
Investing in education and job training for prisoners is another remedy for mass incarceration. According to Schoenfeld (2018), education and job training can be key factors in reducing recidivism and helping people successfully reintegrate into society after they are released. The government should invest in programs that provide prisoners with the skills they need to secure employment and support themselves. Additionally, these programs should be designed to support the transition from prison to society and reduce the risk of relapse Schoenfeld (2018); This can be done by providing prisoners with access to education, healthcare, and job training, as well as by improving conditions in the prisons themselves. For example, reducing overcrowding and improving access to mental health services can help ensure prisoners are prepared to reintegrate into society when released. Thus, investing in education and job training for prisoners can help reduce mass incarceration.
Another solution for mass incarceration is to provide alternative sentencing options for people convicted of non-violent crimes. According to Leipold (2019), this could include community service, electronic monitoring, drug treatment programs, and work-release programs. These alternatives are more effective at reducing recidivism and saving taxpayer dollars. Alternative Sentencing Options (ASO) for non-violent crimes aim to reduce mass incarceration by providing judges and prosecutors with alternatives to traditional jail or prison sentences Leipold (2019). These options may include community service, electronic monitoring, drug treatment, or rehabilitation programs. By offering these alternative options, individuals convicted of non-violent crimes can serve their sentences in a way that addresses the root cause of their crime and helps them reintegrate into society; This can reduce recidivism and decrease the overall number of people incarcerated, reducing mass incarceration Leipold (2019). Additionally, ASO can help to relieve overcrowding in prisons and jails, improve conditions for those who are incarcerated and help to reduce the overall costs of the criminal justice system. Thus, providing alternative sentencing options for non-violent offenders is another solution for mass incarceration.
In conclusion, mass incarceration is a critical issue in America and has a significant impact on communities. There are several remedies that can be used to address it. These remedies include reforming the criminal justice system, providing alternative sentencing options, investing in education and job training and addressing the roots of crime. Criminal justice reform efforts aim to reduce the number of individuals incarcerated and address the underlying problems of the criminal justice system. By working together, we can create a more just and equitable criminal justice system, reduce the number of incarcerated people, and promote a more productive and successful society for all.
Beckett, K. (2018). The politics, promise, and peril of criminal justice reform in the context of mass incarceration. Annual Review of Criminology, 1, 235-259. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-criminol-032317-092458
Leipold, A. D. (2019). Is mass incarceration inevitable? Am. Crim. L. Rev., 56, 1579.
Sawyer, W., & Wagner, P. (2020). Mass incarceration: The whole pie 2020 (Vol. 24). Northampton, MA: Prison Policy Initiative.
Schoenfeld, H. (2018). Building the prison state: Race and the politics of mass incarceration. University of Chicago Press.
Stewart, H. (2018). The Wrong of Mass Punishment. Criminal Law and Philosophy, 12(1), 45-57.