In America currently we have a system of punishment in america that is not effective. This is due to Reagan era policies that harm nonviolent drug offenders. Once these people go to prison they are simply punished instead of trying to help them make better life choices and education them on how to reintegrate into society once they get back into the real world.

One way theory is that longer sentences reduce crime rates. This is true but only in specific circumstances. They are able to deter crime for a short while but the after bout a year of the new policy being implemented there is a rise to pre-longer sentence crime rates. The real problem is that criminals care about the short term and are willing to trade short term stability for the possibility that down the road they might go to jail. This is why they are willing to sell drugs and cross the border. They see what they get as worth the risk.

Another reason why the longer rates are used is that it supposedly reduces recidivism rates- that is the criminals having spent a longer time in prison will be less likely to commit a crime again. This is simply not true. Longer prison times have little effect on those who are committing crimes as the rates of recidivism do not drop.

The myth that longer sentences and harsher punishment deter or prevent is simply not true. People are going to commit crimes but taking them away from everything and their support system is not effective. There needs to be more wanting to help and empathy in the criminal justice system understanding most blue collar criminals have a reason to commit the crime because their basic needs are not being met. The issue of jobs and feeding these people is what should be focused on and the issue of reducing long sentences is a way to help these people if there is going to be no help given in the way of jobs and subsidies from the government.  

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Beth
February 9, 2018 4:40 pm

Hi Simon!
This post really interested me. After watching the Netflix documentary, “The 13th,” my eyes were opened to our corrupt criminal justice system. The American government uses ineffective punishments and has no desire to rehabilitate criminals, especially nonviolent drug offenders, like you mentioned. There is extreme inequality in our prisons and clearly our current system is not working to change this, which is extremely frustrating and sad. If you have the chance, you should watch “The 13th.” It’s very powerful and effective in creating a desire to do something. If you are interested in expanding this topic, you could discuss the extreme racial inequality in our prisons. Here’s an interesting article: https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/black-lives-matter-eliminating-racial-inequity-in-the-criminal-justice-system/

Beth

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