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The Effects of Mass Incarceration and The Solutions to It

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The U.S. has a history of certain policy-making that has deliberately incarcerated a mass amount of Blacks and Latinos disproportionately over the course of the past fifty years. Throughout that course of fifty years, the policies implemented were sought out by public figures who hid their ulterior motives behind legislation. Today, not only do multi-billion dollar industries benefit from these long-term policies, but big-time corporations and lobbyists profit as well. With a closer analyzation of the policies put in place to incarcerate Black and Brown people and exceedingly high rates, one can conclude what’s in between the lines of these historic actions.

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Main issues discussed throughout the paper starts with the absence of rehabilitation and lack of conversation on reformation. The focus has shifted from the state of the incarcerated to the exploitation of them. Societal structures have allowed for the prison industrial complex to perpetuate the privatization of prisons as well as the school-to-prison pipeline. By looking at the different roles of structures, like the criminal justice system and the institution of education, one will see the ways they immediately affect each other. There are numerous ways one could go about changing the prison industrial system, but there are three fundamental solutions that can be used as catalysts. It is imperative that we stay alert on who represents us and our concerns at the local, state and federal level. If we can’t have our voices heard at the federal level, then it is crucial to start at the local level and make our way up. Also, as a society we should focus on the private organizations and corporations profiting from cheap labor. By knowing this and then acting to change it, like boycotting those corporations, we can put an end to the privatization of the prisons. Lastly, crucial to our fight is ending the extreme sentencing for petty crimes, that also target black and brown people disproportionately. This will allow us to instill equity into our criminal justice system, something much needed.

With more than 1.6 billion black men under some type of correctional control one thing is clear the time to take action is now. So then the question is how do we act? A large part of the problem is how we vote. Voting for for local politicians can help us change who is policing our streets, how they are policing our streets and what their goals are. This type of vigilance should extend to the kind of bills and props we vote for ensuring that we are not helping to turn under privileged neighborhoods into the sole battlegrounds for the “war on crime/drugs (the blacks and latinos)”. We need politicians and lawmakers in our areas to start crafting legislation that helps to dismantle the structures put into place that makes this gross injustice not only possible but lucrative.

One of the most effective solutions would be to take money out of the private prison industry. Corrections Corporations of America, the second largest for profit country in the US, owns over 50 detention centers ranging from immigration to federal prisons. A lot of these prisons have what is known as occupancy guarantees which allows the prison to charge the state a fee if they do not hit a certain amount of prisoners with some prisons being guaranteed up to 96% occupancy. These prisoners are worth anywhere between 3,300-18,000 per prisoner annually. This incentivises lawmakers, judges, and officers to lock up offenders for as long as possible for even the pettiest of crimes all in the interest of saving money. While the profits for these private prisons are in decline now they are still very much extant and play a major role in why mass incarceration is still a huge issue.

In 2014 the Bureau of Prisons paid up to 22,159 dollars per prisoner to private prisons. This amount could be enough to put up to three people through state college. As such it is time that we start asking more of these prisons. In order to receive over .25 of their current asking price per body they should be required to have a minimum of two extensive rehabilitation programs. These programs could range from drug rehabs to educational centers offering training for jobs or even a degree. These programs could be used to help prisoners be better prepared to re-enter civilian life.

Another solution would be to lower the maximum sentencing for petty crimes and drug possession as well as altering laws that may prevent convicted felons from finding gainful employment. A drug sale could land someone in prison for up to 5 years. After losing 5 years of their lives former inmates are further distanced from rejoining mainstream society due to their record often preventing them from finding gainful (legal) employment. Providing tax cuts to businesses that hire both people from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as people convicted of nonviolent offenses would provide a huge financial incentive to employ people others may view as unemployable. By not excluding former inmates from participating in the (legal) pursuit of economic success and preventing them from being able to support themselves and their families we as a society will no longer be forcing these people to resort back to dealing to support themselves. By letting out these offenders earlier and providing them with actual opportunities and options (in terms of work) we will make the reintegration into society a lot smoother and decrease the chances

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Since far more prisoners are being held, in particularly colored, there should be other ways of dealing with this problem other than keeping them there. With these solution, it would not only improve the prisoners loved ones lives it could improve the economic structure and the prisoner themselves. With rehabilitation, prisoners would be able to not just get rehabilitated mentally but they’ll also be able to receive education in the process of rehabilitation. These solutions can be effective in many ways by different programs, like educational programs and others. The prisoner will be able to have a better live after they are released, like a better chance at a job and they’d be trained mentally that their a better way of living life for the one that were incarcerated for any type of crime. These solution would greatly have an impact on everyone lives in america and America’s economy because it would result in a lower poverty level and many of prisoners lives would be able to have a better chance at success after being released.

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The Effects of Mass Incarceration and the Solutions to It. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 28, 2023, from
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