Term Paper: American Corrections the Statistics

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[. . .] (Parkin, 69)

The American prosecution is considered to be ruthless in respect of many crimes. The imprisonment number in these countries is quite comparable however, with exception of West Germany, in case of the violent crimes. In terms of rate of prosecution against the property crimes the United States imprison more wrongdoers in number and also for a longer period of time. In respect of the drug crimes also the same trend is exhibited. (Parkin, 69) The changes brought out in the government policies with regard to stringent drug policies and compulsory minimum sentencing provisions accounts for four fold increase in the prisoners since 1980. Stringent implementation of the prosecution laws in respect of the non-violent drug users exhibited an unprecedented growth rate of American prison population. The present growth rate predicts for more than 7.7 million citizens would have the prison experience by 2010 which would be 3.4% of the total adult population. (Chaddock, 8)

The higher rates of imprisonment is considered to have worsened the problem further by denying the imprisoned youth to undergo the process of rehabilitation, take up jobs, and at last becoming a normal citizen. The children of the imprisoned parents are the worst sufferers. This higher rate of imprisonment is a matter of great concern to all the conscious American citizens irrespective of their political affiliations. The stringent enforcement of drug laws, increasing crime rates, prosecutions involving long sentences give rise to growth of prisoners in America. Accusations have also been made by some analysts of intentional devising of the legal framework and use of the prison system by the United States as a means of social restraints which are surpassing the limits prescribed by the Criminal Justice system. Significant variations in the dimensions of state functionaries and life of the low-educated persons have been noticed in consonance with the rise in American penal system. The increased number of prisoners, long sentences and the frequency of the imprisonment determine the rate of growth of prison population. The increased imprisonment is attributed to economic disparities in terms of high crime rates among poorer group coupled with subsequent captivity and convictions. (Parkin, 69)

The nexus between the higher economic disparities and subsequent growth of prisoners is seen in the causes of criminal offences and social control measures of the criminal justice authorities. The growth of offence rates with the increasing disparity at the lowest levels contributes much towards legal convictions and imprisonment. The economic adversity prevalent among some communities is considered as a threat to the social order and impels the enforcement officials to exercise punitive actions. Deterioration in the standards of living of low-educated American youth during the last three decades is attributed to two major factors. The widespread economic disparities have almost made it impossible to earn with having a secondary education. The stringent American penal system in an environment of falling wages forced the low-skilled and minority fractions susceptible to crime and imprisonment. The correlation of inequality and higher imprisonments are evident ever since the middle of the 70s and continues till now. The economic disparities are associated with inequality in two major ways. (Greenfield, et. al, 35)

The economic adversity increased the crime rate at the lower strata of the society resulting in more detentions, convictions and imprisonment. The criminal law according to the sociologists of punishments do not apply only to regulate crime rate but also to the fraction of the population considered as threat to the normal functioning of its high-class citizens. The positive correlation between the economic disparity and the punitive actions are emphasized much by the researchers. The contemporary rise of penal system is attributed to the imperfection of urban labor markets evident particularly during later part of the after-war periods. The strain theory better establishes the development of criminal attitude among lower class as a consequence of significant emphasis on material success in the society simultaneously concentrating the opportunities with a few for its attainment. This led Merton to argue in support of the moral influence upon the lower class to attain success by hook or crook. The denial of opportunities impels them to resort to criminal offence in order to ensure access to the material prosperity presently the middle class is possessing. (Parkin, 69)

The prevailing racial disparities in a greater magnitude propagating disappointments rather than simple economic adversity, impels more for criminal activities. Contrary to the strain theory propounding the adverse economic conditions as the impelling factor for people to resort to criminal activities the social control theories stresses upon the social measures for avoiding offences. Continuous engagement in economic pursuits, irrespective of the earnings seems to reduce the opportunities for offence. In an environment of imperfect labor markets, the analysts observed the crime rate to be low among the persons engaged in primary sectors guaranteeing reliable, scheduled and monitored jobs in comparison to the secondary labor market characterized by inconsistent employment. Studies on the history of criminal activity reveal gradual rehabilitation of the criminals, through provision of secured employment. (Greenfield, et. al, 33)

The economic adversity also has adverse effects on social control measures in terms of family breakups and infusing the evils of neighborhood poverty. It is also observed that the secured two parent families have better control over the children and restrain them from indulging in juvenile delinquency in contrast to the children of poor families dominated by the single parents that are more susceptible to the criminal activities in absence of adequate resources for their restraint. Studies have revealed family breakups as cause of juvenile delinquency, similarly, the stable marriages similar to regular employment succeeds in rehabilitating the adult criminals refraining them from indulging in criminal activities. Since the rate of stable marriages is less among the economically adverse class, establishment of a correlation between the criminal activities and economic adversity is evident. (Mauer, 5)

The statistical evidence of high crime rates at the lower strata of the society is the testimony for the nexus between the rate of criminal offence and economic disparity. The statistics from police and court records infers that the involvement of lower strata people is more in magnitude than that of the people of middle class. Natural and biological environment also have profound impact on the rate of criminal activity by poor and minority persons irrespective of their class. Recent studies have also revealed other economic factors contributing towards the crime rate. The trends in the criminal rates in consonance with relative studies reveal that the growth in the offence rates are due to widespread unemployment and other causes of idleness. (Greenfield, et. al, 34)

Every body is being aware of the facts that higher rates of captivity posing a critical situation among the minority communities more particularly the African-American communities. However, it is of much difficult to come out of the trend patterns and to modify the behavior. Peeping into the reality and empirical studies led us to evaluate the social control measures and to infer that the social environment created by us impels the black people more to commit the crime and makes the enforcement and conviction more ruthless to them in comparison to the whites. The economic adversity, racial disharmony, and ethnic disparity results in poor education and less opportunity for jobs alternatively giving rise to the factors promoting to rely on the foul means earning like violence, theft, etc. The recessions of late Eighties threw several Black communities to the poverty stricken environment. (Greenfield, et. al, 36)

It is observed that even though the drug usage among Black and White is similar and among Hispanics it is less in comparison to that of Whites. However, the Blacks and Hispanics are more prone to be imprisoned than the non-Hispanic Whites. A major diversification of the crime policy in the United States initiated during the sixties with a view to restoring law and order. This has profound impact in form of Black urban riots of sixties and said to have an inclination towards racial discrimination from its very beginning. With the influence of various politically motivated drug attacks the racial discrimination in respect of imprisonment seems to have grown to a larger extent during the decades of 70s and 80s. The political factors like speeches by the Black Mayors and Republic governors against crime affected the racial discriminations most in the urban localities and at state levels. (Parkin, 69)

Besides, the compulsory minimum period of imprisonment and ruthless utterances also contributed to the increase in crime rates. Even though some states strived for reduction of the number of prisoners, the increase in the imprisonment during the last year was attributed to the force of cruel laws of 1990s, construction of additional prisons by the states and increasing thrust of political stringency on criminal activities. The distinguishing feature of jails is to detain the under trial criminals the prisons are meant for the prosecuted criminals of sentences generally of more than one year. (Butterfield, A6) According to the Vincent Schiraldi, the executive director of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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