Does Prison Deter Crime

7 July 2016

The debate over whether or not if prison deters crime in our society is something that many of us have often thought about for quite awhile. When you think about the punishment aspect of it, it removes the criminals off the street but does it really deter crime? Without getting to the root cause of why they become criminals and resolving that issue, we often find that the criminal becomes a repeat offender.

By getting to the root cause of why our criminals become criminals in the first place, we can take this information and be proactive to those who show signs of becoming criminals of the near future and possibly eliminate future transgressions in our society. There are several ways that prison’s deter crime. One being a general deterrent and the other as being more of a specific deterrent however the system is not perfect and could stand some revisions.

Does Prison Deter Crime Essay Example

In the article “Prison Deters Crime”, America’s Prisons 2010, “Incarceration is a very effective method of deterring future victimization from those within our nation’s jails and prisons. ” Curtis Blakeley writes that Incarceration is a very effective way of preventing future crimes from being committed against our society. What it boils down to is what one’s concept of deterrence is and recognizes its purpose. General deterrence is where crime is prevented in general to society as a whole.

Knowledge of a specific law or perhaps knowing of others who have committed similar crimes and the consequences of their actions can be enough to prevent a transgression. Now in the matter of specific deterrence where the perpetrator is directly punished for the infraction against the victim is sentenced and removed from society so that they may not commit any future transgressions. This is not designed as a means of rehabilitation but simply as a punishment. It may have secondary benefits as a general deterrent in society since they can no longer transgress against anyone else.

According to an article , Prisons (2014) “ The U. S. prison population has grown dramatically in recent years. The number of people in state and federal prisons increased from under 200,000 in 1970 to nearly than 1. 6 million in 2008. Counting those in local jails, about 737 out of every 100,000 Americans are behind bars—the highest percentage in the world. Much of this growth is due to sentencing guidelines developed during the 1980s, which required judges to give out longer sentences.

” The increase in population in the United States alone has contributed to severe overcrowding in the nation’s prisons. It stands to reason that an increase in the overall population of our country would also have an impact on whether new crimes would be committed. Also we have to consider those crimes that are committed by repeat offenders. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that at the end of 2008, federal prisons were operating at 35 percent above capacity. At the same time, state prisons were operating at 97 percent of their highest capacity.

Some facilities have moved prisoners into supermax units because their regular cells are full. In 2000 the federal government reported that the prison boom had finally begun to slow down. During that year, the number of people in state prisons increased less than 1 percent, and some states had fewer prisoners than in 1999. This slowdown resulted from a combination of factors, including declining crime rates since 1991, expanded use of parole in some states, and an increase in the number of drug treatment programs.

However, the federal prison system continued to expand, with the number of prisoners increasing by about 9 percent. Think that California prisons are teeming with petty offenders? Think again. The Runner paper cites a federal survey that found that 47 percent of California inmates are repeat violent offenders, and 33 percent are repeat nonviolent offenders. Most of the rest are first time felons who committed crimes against people think murder, manslaughter, robbery, assault, kidnapping, rape or other sex offenses. California’s crime rate fell dramatically after “three strikes” passed.

In 1993, the year before voters approved the measure, the FBI ranked California fourth among the states for total crimes per 100,000 people; in 1999, the murder rate had been cut in half, and California’s crime rate had fallen to 29th place. As far as Runner is concerned, long penalties have made California safer. The “three strikes” law, he said, “keeps people in prison longer. It also makes people’s behavior change. ” His aide Charlie Fennessey points to burglary convictions as proof that criminals have changed their behavior to keep up with the changed laws.

After 1994, he found, some crimes like second degree burglary and car theft, which are not “three strikes” offenses increased to earlier levels, but first degree burglary, a “three strikes crime,” remained flat. By understanding what the original purpose and intent of what our criminal justice system was designed to do by its founders and how they defined deterrence along with the severity of punishment and whether or not the inmate is a repeat offender along with changing laws that can encourage a change in behaviour we can see that Prisons do deter crime.

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