Published on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 by Davis Downey
It’s widely accepted that some sort of punishment is required for individuals who break a law. However, the nature of that punishment is a source of much debate. The most oft used form of punishment is either a monetary fine or jail time. I think both of these punishments serve their places, however I think the court system needs to be much more stingy with doling out jail
It may seem reasonable that people who have broken the law shouldn’t be allowed back in public, but there are millions of non-violent first time offenders that are receiving food, shelter, entertainment, clothes, and other amenities being paid for by the government. It begins to seem like an unreasonable enterprise. When those same offenders who committed no greater crime than say, possession of marijuana, or insider trading, are put in prison, what result the government is expecting to achieve. It isn’t like those individuals were poisoning to society, it isn’t like they posed any sort of threat to anyone. They just broke a law. This is where the prison system becomes a problem.
Currently the volume of prisoners is an issue. We simply don’t have the money or space to keep up with the rising amounts of non-violent inmates. Perhaps more house arrests should be issued, or more tracking anklets. Regardless, any solution that keeps more citizens out of that striped uniform, is a step in the right direction.
Another facet of the justice system I don’t agree with is it’s claim of rehabilitation. There are numerous studies that have proven prisoners relapse and end up back where they started, oftentimes because of committing a worse crime, but almost always with a repeat offense. All that time they spend being “rehabilitated” in jail, in fact made them even more likely to return. The environment the prisoners were submitted to while in prison, instead of being rehabilitating in fact corrupted them even further, to the point where returning was really the only outcome that. While there are institutions that are meant to help newly released prisoners, they increasingly have trouble handling the sheer amount of freed citizens.