The population of the United States makes up only 5% of the world’s total population yet we house 25% of the world’s inmates. If petty crimes that don’t put others lives at risk didn’t yield such high punishment, I believe that rates of incarceration would go down and with that comes a decrease in taxpayer spending. I am not saying these things should go unpunished but locking someone away and paying for their every need is less of a punishment to me than having something on your record and living in the real world. If the justice system could find a way to have criminals reap consequences, things could change for the better.
I think crimes, not including murder, rape, abuse, etc, should be punished with things like community service, house arrest, or a mark on your permanent record. Having something on your record can affect the way you live your life drastically. A slash on a perfect past can cause someone previously capable of getting a job to be unable to have a job, or lose their current job. To me this punishment is more severe than spending a life locked up doing nothing, and it doesn’t put an extra burden on taxpayers who are not criminals. The extra money that was previously going to prisoners, could then be spent on deserving people for things like housing, food, education, or other basic necessities of life.
There are solutions to the problems our nation faces. The biggest problem we have is making changes that can solve those problems.