With looking at the American prison system we see many flaws in all parts of the country. One particular is in California with its 3 strike law.
This law was enacted in 1994, this law was to require a defendant of any new felony, who already have suffered a prior conviction of a serious felony will then be sentenced to a state prison for twice the amount of time. If a third felony is committed then they are convicted of a sentence of at least 25 years. This three strike rule only causes more problems than solutions to the overcrowding in American prisons. Many minor third offenses are then turned into very long sentences for many criminals who have to give up 25 years of their life to now rot in a jail cell In 2011 the United States supreme court found that the overcrowding in California’s prisons had gotten so bad that prisons were holding double their occupancy.
This overcrowding diminished inmates health and safety were compromised. Article states “The court had ordered the state of California to reduce its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates”. This is all because of the three strike law implemented in the state, it causes prisons to become too overwhelmed with the number of prisoners that are being thrown in. Within the prison system is a very confidential punishment that splits the community in half.
Solitary confinement is controversial because of the mental pain it causes prisoners. It isn’t unusual to hear about prisoners being placed in solitary for years at a time. This form of punishment does more then seclude prisoner from other, it also breaks persons mind down mentally. On April 22, 2014, Frontline published an article talking about the effects of solitary confinement on the mind. The article mentions how correctional officers, which don’t even experience solitary confinement the way prisoners do say that “they describe solitary as the prison within the prison. The article mentions a 1950s study at the University of Wisconsin psychologist Harry Harlow. The article states that “He places rhesus monkey inside a custom-made solitary chamber”.
After the conclusion of the experiment, the monkeys wound up ” profoundly disturbed, given to staring blankly and rocking in place for long periods, circling their cages repetitively, and mutilating themselves” this confinement hurt the mind of these monkeys and have the same effect on human beings. Solitary confinement is practically torturing a person. When looking at the American prison system we see many flaws in it. One major problem is the amount it cost to continue keeping prisons running.
The cost in 2010 to run all the prisons in the United States was 39 billion. The average cost to keep someone in prison is $31,286. The amount of money that is being shelled to keep a prisoner in jail is way too much, this money can be used to help better inmates instead of keeping them locked away. This money is wasted, they are stopping these prisoners from becoming model citizens. In 2013 the New York Times published an article talking about the City’s annual cost per inmate.
The Times states “The city paid $167,731 to feed, house and guard each inmate, this cost is lost more then many people make in a year”. Many individuals don’t even go to jail for crimes that cost the state that amount of money. The article states that the city of New York spends more money than any other state with expenses to keep inmates in their prisons. It continues with talking about the state of New York trying to lower its prison population because of the cost for maintaining so many people. When looking at the world today we see tons of news coverage on anything that happens in the country. Lately, there has been lots of coverage of police brutality in the country.
With the past several years the American citizens have been questioning how much force a police officer should be able to use against someone. With several people being killed by the amount of force officers have been using the relation between the community and officers has degraded rapidly. On January 13, 2017, the DOJ found that the Chicago police force has been using excessive force in its department. The investigation had been started when in 2014 the public was angry over the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. There had also been other incidents such as shooting at fleeing suspect who had presented no immediate threat, shooting at vehicles without justification, using tasers on people who posed no threat, and using force to retaliate against and punish people. All of these problems brought the Chicago police to be investigated.