ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mass Incarceration

Updated on May 4, 2016

Why It Matters

Mass incarceration is a growing issue in America that greatly affects the minority population, specifically the African American community. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, holding 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated people, despite only having four percent of the world’s population. The way America deals with incarcerated individuals is ineffective, as there is a very high recidivism rate. Additionally, released convicts are ineligible for food stamps, housing, welfare, student loans, etc., which often forces them to homelessness and suicide. The prison system must be reformed because it also unfairly targets minority populations, especially black people, since one in three black men can expect to spend some time in prison (Criminal Justice Fact Sheet). This disproportionate reality is a reflection of a much deeper issue within the U.S. criminal justice system and how it serves as a means for institutional racism and discrimination. Voting Americans can change this system through voting for policies which begin at their local level, as those policies are typically a domino effect which seep into national politics.

Source

What We Can Do

We can model our prison system after other countries, like Nordic ones for example. They utilize different philosophies to solve crime, such as rehabilitation in order to successfully reintegrate incarcerated individuals to society. A great model for the U.S. is Denmark as it has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world, around 27 percent (Keramet, Sexton, and Sumner). What Denmark does differently is that it actually treats its prisoners like people rather than dangerous animals that must be kept caged and behind barbed wire fences. Instead, “prisoners prepare their own meals, wear their own clothes and leave each day” (Keramet, Sexton, and Sumner). This type of system is known as an “open” prison, and it allows incarcerated people a sense of independence and normality that those in U.S. prisons are otherwise deprived of. In the Washington Post article, the authors mention how when a prisoner in Denmark stabbed another prisoner with a knife while preparing a meal, “prison officials responded by anchoring each knife to the wall with a foot-long steel cord” and when the same thing happened with a vegetable peeler, officials did the same thing (Keramet, Sexton, and Sumner). In America, the response would have been to remove knives entirely as everything is zero-tolerance. This ends up being very detrimental as these same dehumanized people are then released back into society and expected to transition to normal life on their own, despite having spent a great deal of time living in conditions so contrary to what is considered normal.

We can also encourage people to vote more at their local level as those policies have a tendency to influence national politics.

Did you learn something new about mass incarceration?

See results

Works Cited

"Criminal Justice Fact Sheet." Criminal Justice Fact Sheet. NAACP, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. <http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet>.

Reiter, Keramet, Lori Sexton, and Jennifer Sumner. "Denmark Doesn’t Treat Its Prisoners like Prisoners — and It’s Good for Everyone." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/02/02/denmark-doesnt-treat-its-prisoners-like-prisoners-and-its-good-for-everyone/>.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 

      2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Your view of a kinder and more open prison system defeats the entire premise of prison. If you want to see change, it would need to be organic change in minority communities with the simple message of stop breaking the law. I'm a proponent of making prison life much harder and an increased use of capital punishment as crime deterrents.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)