The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The US makes up of 4 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated people. Within the population of the United States whites make up 64 percent, Hispanics make up 16 percent and blacks make up 13 percent. Between 1984 and 2014 the incarceration rate has increased by more than 400 percent. With the problem of mass incarceration there comes a lot of related problems.
One question that should be answered to help us understand mass incarceration is what is the point of sending people to prison? I found that the reason we send people to prison is so they can be punished and to prevent them from doing more bad things. However, millions of prisoners are released each year. We make it intentionally difficult to get a job in America once you have a conviction on your record. Somewhere along the way we started to think that being tough on crime meant being tough on criminals. But that is not the same thing. Punishment is only one of the many ways to reduce crime. Punishment however is very expensive. Many prisons pay up to $100,000 per year per prisoner. Our policy makes…show more content… “Due to the war on drugs and the influx of harsher sentencing laws in the 1980s and 1990s, an increasing proportion of the 1.1 million prisoners added since 1990 were imprisoned for low-level or non-violent crimes” says Inimai M. Chettiar. Today, almost half of state prisoners are convicted of non-violent crimes. More than half of federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses. The system is no longer prioritizing arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating the most dangerous or habitual offenders. In this case, each additional prisoner will, on average, yield less in terms of crime reduction. We have incarcerated those we should not have. This is where the “more incarceration equals less crime” theory