Mass Incarceration Essay

The Incarcerated. America land of the free and home of the great, But in all reality is America as great is we all make it to be. Mass incarceration is growing at a rapid rate. I am going to be discussing the effect of how mass incarceration affects the youth. When you turn on the news often times we see several crimes that are committed by the youth. “This country has the highest incarceration rate in the world and more prisoners than any other country in the world; with 5% of the world’s population, the U. S. incarcerates 25% of the world’s prisoners (Walmsley, n. d)”.

The time effort, and money spent on those individuals who are sentenced for quite a long time is beginning to take a toll on this country. According to Anna Aizer (2013), The US imprisons more young people at a higher rate than any other nation. This column argues that, at a tremendous cost, incarcerating juveniles only serves to reduce their educational attainment and increase the probability of incarceration as an adult”.

As someone who in seeking a degree in the educational field I dislike that the incarceration of youth is being taken away from them. Shouldn’t we want to better our growing generation and help them get the proper education rather than just let them sit in jail wasting our time and money. “The US incarcerates juveniles at a much higher rate than other nations. It spends some $6 billion per year on juvenile corrections. In fact, on any given day, there are over 70,000 juveniles in custody in the US (OJJDP 2011) with an average (direct) cost of $88,000 per juvenile per year (Aizer, 2013)”.

If a juvenile is imprisoned it takes away from not only their education but they also lack social skills and developmental skills. In addition, Youth who have been incarcerated experience diminished income in comparison with their non-incarcerated peers. Economic hardship, in turn, is health, social attachments, and a lower life expectancy. These are the types of things that juveniles are experiencing. Mass incarceration has been an issue that the United States has always struggled from, only now the number of those incarcerated is rapidly growing.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union also known as ACLU, “Representing just 5 percent of the world’s population, we now hold 25 percent of its inmates. The “tough on crime” politics of the 1980s and 1990s fueled an explosion in incarceration rates. By the close of 2010, America had 1,267,000 people behind bars in state prisons, 744,500 in local jails, and 216,900 in federal facilities—more than 2. 2 million people locked in cages. The ACLU believes that together we can cut that number in half by 2020. It’s one thing to be tuff on crime but in some cases certain individuals who are imprisoned are given an outrageous number of years for a petty crime, and yet we have those other individuals who are receiving a few years for an awful crime they committed.

“Blacks are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate 10 times greater than that of whites, despite the fact that blacks and whites use drugs at roughly the same rates… without even realizing the United States has spent over $80 billion on incarceration each year, that means that the U. S is spending roughly around 20,000 – 50,000 dollars annually to keep an individual behind bars rather that individual is in a local, state, or federal prison” (Mass, 2016). “The history of racism, which is also linked to the history of perceptions of race and crime, has led society to choose to fight racial economic equality using the criminal justice system (i. e. , incarceration) instead of choosing to reduce racial disparities through consistent investments in social programs (such as education, job training, and employment, which have greater public benefits), as King (1968) lobbied for before his ssassination.

In other words, society chose to use incarceration as a THE INCARCERATED welfare program to deal with the poor, especially since the underprivileged are disproportionately people of color (Institute, 2016). In the future I believe there can be a difference for the number of individuals who are incarcerated. We as a country should try harder to lower the number of imprisoned people. “Results suggest that incarcerating juveniles, at tremendous cost, serves to reduce their educational attainment and increase the probability of incarceration as an adult.

Interestingly, after years of steady increases in juvenile incarceration, in the past decade, juvenile incarceration has started to decline. Nationally, juvenile incarceration has dropped 32% from 2002 to the present (National Juvenile Justice Network 2013). This is driven by both falling rates of crime and by concerted efforts on the part of roughly ten (of the largest) states to reduce expenditures on juvenile incarceration by substituting to less costly communitybased alternatives (Aizer ,2013)”. Although it is not much we can see that the number of those who are incarcerated has slowly decreased over the past decade.