Research Paper: Criminal Justice

Pages: 8 (2797 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Society is providing a means for these individuals to contribute to America. As it stands to today, more and more individuals are entering prison. These individuals are subsequently not paying any tax, not providing goods and services for society to use, not raising a family, and not contributing to America. In fact they are detracting from it. Why not help these individuals become productive members of society as oppose to a burden to it?

In regards to overall statistics regarding the criminal justice system, each year seems to get better. According to the FBI website, the violent crimes rate has fallen from 758.2 in 1991 to 403.6 in 2010. The number of violent crimes as percentage of the population has decreased by nearly 50% which is outstanding. Also very noteworthy is the fact that manner of the major crimes committed in 1991 have all diminished dramatically in 2010. I believe this success can be attributed the strong aspects of the criminal justice system overall. Many individuals do indeed seem to be deterred from crime. It is also refreshing to see that robberies have diminished substantially as well. Robbery is very common is some regions of the United States. However, looking at the statistics, the prevalence of this offense has decreased substantially. Below is summary of the statistics I have just mentioned in tabular form for your convenience.

Table 1

Crime in the United States

by Volume and Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants, 1991 -- 2010

Year

Population1

Violent

crime

Violent

crime rate

Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter

Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate

Forcible

rape

Forcible

rape

DUI and DUI related deaths have decreased over this period. Again, this is further proof that the criminal justice system does indeed work. From 1992 to 2010, rates of dui related deaths have steadily decreased. Below is a chart depicting the results.

Figure 4

What will be needed to implement the solution?

As started at the beginning of this document, the criminal justice system does indeed work. The statistics above prove it to be so. However, for this trend to be more profound and sustainable, more action is needed in regards to repeat offenders and education. In regards to a remedy to the American prison education epidemic, I believe a quote from the bible is appropriate in this context. The quote from Matthew 25:29 reads, "For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance. But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." This quote describes perfectly our current epidemic here in America. In many instances, it is those individuals with money or a high social economic status that can afford the premium teachers, classrooms, and materials. As such money will be needed to enhance the overall teaching experience, especially in prison. However, in these current economic times, it is both unpopular and contentious to tax an already financially stressed community. In such instances it may be better to simply become more efficient in regards to prison education. For example, more inmates should be required to attend classes. Additionally, technology can play a major role. Instead of regular books, maybe e-books can be utilized. It reduces replacement costs, theft, damage, and insurance costs. By reducing costs to some extent and have a corresponding raise in revenue, schools can better afford to provide better services. These initial costs far outweigh the projected costs of NOT doing so. Figure 3 confirms this expectation and projection. Over the past 15 years costs have increased nearly 400% in regards to the criminal justice system. Successful rehabilitation programs and will dramatically reduce these costs that are often incurred by society at large.

Figure 5

In regards to reintroduction into society programs, there is substantial opportunity for improvement. The current approaches to "protect" the public upon a prisoners release are fundamentally flawed. If we, as a society, do our due diligence in regards to educations and proper rehabilitation within prison, society would be less fearful. Society is fearful because they realized, the individuals released into society have very little skill by which to matriculate successfully. They therefore must resort to crime as they have no other form of education. This is the self-fulfilling prophecy in which I mentioned earlier in this document. Due primarily to lack of funding, there is a lack of proper rehabilitation and educational prison programs. The current programs within prisons are substandard with very little penetration rates. As mentioned above only a small subset of prisons even offers higher education courses. Due to the low quality and low penetration rates of these programs, these individuals are subsequently released to society with little to no training. Society is quick to require inmates to clean highways and build roads and bridges, yet they are not as enthusiastic in regards to educating these very same individuals. I believe, in part, that society has condemned these individuals to a life of repeat offense which only exacerbates the problems. The current approaches to "protect" society should be aimed to help prisoners "collaborate" with society. Again, this concept revolves solely around education.

In addition to having a community expectation of exceptional success for all students, we also need to decrease the quality gap among institutions. In makes no sense for one school to be exceptional in regards to its teaching prowess, while the school 5 miles away is a laggard. I believe institutions such as Teach for America and "No child left behind" are doing an absolutely wonderful job a bridging this gap, but more should be done in the compensation department. Many of our great math teachers are simply not teaching because more lucrative jobs abound, particularly on Wall Street. The salary discrepancy is so high, that many potential teachers simply elect to go for more lucrative positions elsewhere as oppose to teaching. By raising the salary to a more competitive level, we encourage more teachers of quality to teach in more schools. Again, this will be a community effort as the community will need to pay higher taxes in order to afford such an ambitious salary overhaul. These taxes could come in the form of an increase sales tax, income tax, or the issuance of tax deferred municipal bonds. Either way, the cost will be incurred and born by the community in some respects. The benefits of better teachers, especially within the community will have profound impact on the entire nation.

In conclusion, education is important in regards to the overall structure of the prison systems. In addition, rehabilitation programs, uniform facility standards, education penetration rates, and financial backing all need to be improved. As mentioned in the introduction, America albeit the wealthiest country in the world, also has the most individuals in jail. Individuals are wealthy, but subsequently, a vast majority of society is poor, both mentally and psychologically. Prison and rehabilitation programs should bridge the gap between these individuals and the rest of wealthy America. By doing so, we ensure the continued prosperity of our nation while also further the goals and ideals of every American system.

References:

1) Bedau, H., Cassell, P. (2004). Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Best Case. Oxford University Press, 2004. p 69. Retrieved February, 19, 2012 from ebrary database.

2) Lauren Glaze. Correctional Populations in the United States, 2009. NCJ 231681. December 21, 2010. United States Bureau of Justice Statistics

3) Crowe, Chris. "The History of Jim Crow." The History of Jim Crow. Web. 02 Apr. 2012. .

4) Gardner, Martin R. "Executions and Indignities -- An Eighth Amendment Assessment of Methods of Inflicting Capital Punishment;." Ohio State Law Journal 96th ser. 39 (1978): 15-23. Print.

5) Hugo… [END OF PREVIEW]

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