Week 5 Final Paper
The one-way society can combat some of this problem is to take a long hard look at our rehabilitative programs and re-entry programs. Without these programs the recidivism rate in the United States will continue to rise. Prisons and Jails will remain overcrowded and the revolving door to mass incarceration will forever be opened. The programs with in the prison must be just as functional and goal oriented as the programs available outside of prison. There has been some legislation brought up in the past few years about bail reform, such as letting non-violent offenders be released on the own recognizance, overhauling the bail system in place now, and offering innovative alternative strategies other than incarceration. Some of these strategies could be using the probation system more, such as placing offenders on house arrest, electronic monitoring, and community service.
The issues within our criminal justice system are systematic, there is not one state, county or city without problems of overcrowding. However, there are some alternatives to these issues. For one we can focus on bail reform. More and more states are looking closer at their bail policies and making changes to further correct the problem. As far long prison sentences being imposed there have been strides made to change this, such as changing some of the sentencing policies on certain drugs. One way to address this is to overhaul the “war on drugs” and look at some other alternatives instead of incarceration such as the probation system and the services it offers. Some other alternatives maybe looking at our rehabilitative programs in the United States and building more facilities geared to intense programming for education, vocation, employment etc. Also, our public defender programs need to change, so they are not run by the very judges who impose the sentences.
In conclusion the way to reduce overcrowded prisons and jails is to dig deeper into our bail policies, the long sentences imposed on non-violent offenders, overhaul the war on drugs, change our public defender system, and focus on rehabilitative service upon re-entry and while incarcerated. Bail policies need to be reformed. Court systems need to give bail amounts based on severity instead of what someone can afford, which is how is seems to end up. Also, the issue of racial disparity plays a part in bail sentencing, which really needs to be looked at and researched by our courts. The “war on drugs” needs to be re-evaluated also, many of prisoners with long sentences have those sentences for non-violent drug offenses. These offenders should be offered rehabilitative services and drug counseling. Also, more programs should be imposed to allow for people with felonies, who are actively trying to turn their lives around, to be able to get a decent paying job so they do not return to street crime. Finally, our public defender system needs a complete overhaul. Each state needs to adopt a policy that allows people to have public defenders who are paid well for their services, more funding for resources necessary to argue a case. We may be giving people the right to be defended, but the way we are doing it is an injustice.
Eisen, L., & Chettiar, I., (2016) 39% of prisoners should not be in prison. Retrieved from www.time.com/4596081/incarceration-report.
Hicks, J., (2004). “Employment upon re-entry: Prison-based preparedness leads to community-based success.” Corrections today, no.6: 104. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/login.aspx?
Miles, K., (2016). Just how much the war on drugs impact our overcrowded prisons, in one chart. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/10 war-on-drugs-prisons-infographics.
Palermo, G.B. (2011). Jail and Prison overcrowding and rehabilitative justice programs. International Journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 55(6), 843-845. Retrieved from https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1177
Patton, D.E. (2017). The structure of Federal Public Defense: A call for independence. Cornell Law Review, 102(2), 335. Retrieved from https://search.ebcohost.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/login.aspx?
Williams, P., (2012) State legislatures Magazine. Law makers in more than two dozen states are changing the rules on bail. Retrieved from www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal justice.