*Super rough draft!! Just looking for opinions on the ideas in the essay (: I know its a little sloppy
American prisons research
. Prisons in the United States have been becoming more of a chore than a duty to help others in need. Prisons have a long history that deserve to be explained Being imprisoned is not a new idea; it all started before Christ, and has only gotten worse throughout generations. "The use of a cistern or well was not only used in the brothers' hold of Joseph, but was used in the case of an imprisoned 9 Jeremiah and was described as being so horrible that after being brought up for interrogation, Jeremiah begged not to be returned for his fear that he would die there(Version, 1990). The book of Psalms addresses prisons as places where captives are "doomed to die" and are "in misery and in irons(Version, 1990)"(Source #4). The quote about the story of Jeremiah just shows how prisoners have always been treated, even in the beginning of sentencing. Although we do not publically torture the human body, the human mind is still put into distress while in prison. With the strict rules of prison, it can be very a very stressful situation to be in. It is a hard environment to succeed in and feel like you're making a difference. It seems nowadays that America is more focused on the idea to grow prisons versus help the people inside them first. Prisons are overpopulated, understaffed, and as low cost as possible. (Source 5) explains how prisons have drastically changed within the last 32 years. Prisons have had an 893% increase in the number of inmates from the year of 1980 until 2012. (Source 5) also states that the budget for all the prisons in the United States is 6.7 billion annually. Although that sounds like a lot it's not enough. While it may seem like a great idea at first, prisoners now are still citizens that should be planning to come back into society, we need to give them some respect so they learn how they should be acting when they come back. James Van Dyke had the idea that the idea of alternative sentencing can reduce the high costs of incarceration, seeing public justice done, assuring public safety and changing offenders into productive citizens. If the United States gives the idea of alternative sentencing a chance, There would be an increase in success across the country, because of the positivity radiating from the inmates given another chance.I think America needs to make a change with the way that their prison systems are run. There is plenty of evidence that every other country in the world is doing better with crime than the United States. "Presently, the United States prison population far exceeds that of any other country in the world" (Source #4). I think that although having prisons for serious crimes is necessary, America tends to jail citizens that are first time offenders for miniscule crimes that could just be solved with an alternative sentencing like community service. I think that in order to become even more of a powerful country we need to do our best with our prison system. We need to have more freedom for inmates and treat them like how they would be treated on the streets of America. If inmates are taught skills to help them better themselves for the real world, then we could have way less prisoners/prisons. I think that in order to succeed, the United States needs to look at surrounding countries to get a better idea on how we could possibly make a change. Finland "But there aren't any gates, locks or uniforms - this is an open prison. Everyone at the Kerava open prison applied to be here. They earn about $8 an hour, have cell phones, do their grocery shopping in town and get three days of vacation every couple of months. They pay rent to the prison; they choose to study for a university degree in town instead of working, they get a subsidy for it; they sometimes take supervised camping and fishing trips." ( Source 3) This system is for low profile inmates. They are given choices to grow and become better people for society, and when they show progress they are rewarded. This makes it easier for inmates to make a comeback from jail. Germany "He learned how in Germany, correctional officers are more like therapists than guards, and when he returned, Wetzel told me, he increased training in communication skills for his employees, "shifting the whole focus around humanizing offenders and lifting the expectations for officers, to get every staff member to feel some ownership over outcomes."" (source 6). Its important that officials in other countries are making the change because America will be one of the next to follow in their footsteps.With all the new information, the United States has the capability and the information to change our country for the better. The trip to Germany opened up some of the eyes for American prison officials that will quite possibly be the pushing factor to help us get a better system up and running. Especially with the trip to Germany for United States officials, hopefully they will decide to make the changes necessary for a more successful prison system in America. The Vera Institute has chosen these leaders in hopes that they'll take the lessons seriously, and that they have the clout and credibility to enact change once they return home. If officials keep up research to find out where we went wrong in the past, might give some possible solutions to how to fix our prisons. "Prison crowding in particular has been identified as a Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) material weakness, and as such, DOJ has referenced it since fiscal year 2006 in yearly Performance and Accountability Report s. Although BOP recently experienced a decline in the federal prison population, BOP is 30 percent crowded overall and more than 50 percent crowded across its highest security institutions. Additionally, BOP's inmate to staff ratio has increased since 2000 and officer safety is continuously at risk. BOP has recently begun to better assess how well certain safety equipment it provides to protect its officers is working. Continually capitalizing on data collection and analysis of this kind could help BOP better assess the impact of the equipment it provides or could provide to its officers on their safety." (source #7) . Hopefully the BOP and government officials will realize the mistakes from 2006.
The United States seems very interested in growing their prisons versus lowering numbers of prisons and prisoners. I think that the government is trying to make safer communities for the country, but with that, they are too careful with that and tend to imprison more people than necessary. "Most importantly, the tough on crime policies that have led to mass incarceration have not made the country proportionally safer. Contrarily, the United States continues to lead in crime, having the highest crime rate among comparable countries and one of the highest in the entire world" (Source 4).The government does have the right idea with having safe streets but its been to a bit of an extreme. In order to correct this, I think that imprisoned offenders should either have sentences shortened or just be let free. Although that would not work for all prisoners, I think that the ones with minor crimes deserve to be set free. Our government could possibly make new regulations for being sentenced to prison. They should be serious crimes that endanger citizens and communities.
I think in order to make the America the best it can be, we need to learn as much information as possible about the topic of prisons and decide to take action with our knowledge. Some American officials have been travelling around different countries to see how they have dealt with prison epidemics.
1. On the trip to Germany, some officials from (source 6) "pushed to repeal mandatory sentences and improve programs to help ex-prisoners find jobs, terming this broader initiative the "Second-Chance Society."." Seeing countries deal with criminals with respect makes for a country full of peace and politeness. I think another way that America could learn from the issues with our prisons would be talking to actual prisoners about their situations and problems in the system.They could offer a lot of helpful insight that maybe government officials had never thought of before.The United States government only sees one side of the prison system. They are the ones making all the decisions, but they do not see the impact that those decisions have.
Countries all across the world like Germany and Finland have set a great example for the United States to follow. They have learned from their mistakes and have continuously been making changes for the better. Learning from mistakes isn't always easy but sometimes it really helps you out in the long run. Finland learned a from a huge mistake that has since promoted them into becoming a more successful country. "It wasn't always like this. A few decades ago, Finland had one of the highest rates of imprisonment in Europe. Then, in the 1960s, researchers across the Nordic countries started investigating how much punishment really helps reduce crime. The conclusion: It doesn't" (Source 3). German prisons made quite the switch over too. Everyone is aware of what happened during the Holocaust, but Germany made sure to fix where they went wrong and turn their country around. "I think it's kind of amazing that I'm going to see where my father was in a concentration camp in 1945, and go in 2015 to see German prisons and how enlightened and progressive they are," Rosen told me. "It's quite a world.""(Source 6).This was said from an American official visiting Germany and seeing the prison that his grandfather was once placed into and then going to see the new prisons and how much they have changed for the better.
With enough change going on in surrounding countries, the United States is bound to make a change that will help save our country. I think that America will change its ways with the prison system because the government likes being in power and knowing what's going within the country.They will most likely take notes from successful countries and implement those standards into America.It would take time to fix the problems that America has with their prison system. But once it's all fixed then the United States will be so thankful they decided to change. America has the power to change and make our country even better than it already is. ""I think that people can change," he added. "I think countries can change."" (source 6).Although the United States is a big and powerful country, the more progressive strides the make, the better and more positive changes we will make.
With all of the knowledge and information that has been provided through the sources, I think it is safe to say that hopefully within the next couple of years the United States will decide to change their ways about prison and make the move towards a safer and more efficient prison system. We have gone over many sources that explain why the way our prisons run are not beneficial to the growth of the United States. With the help of research from countries nearby we can reintroduce a new way for correctional facilities. If we were to make the change then America would have safer communities, more money to spend on things like education and have more free citizens. America would become the land of the free.