Flaws of the American Prison System

Written by Eleni Stavropoulos, Editorial Writer

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After reading two articles, one from this year and one from 1955, I have stumbled upon some alarming flaws in our country’s prison system.  

Both articles presented the fact that our prison system should create punishments that fit the crime, but remarkably do not.  Instead, they just apply a general punishment in which some crimes fall under due to specific components of the crime itself. However, like I said, the punishment should fit the crime.

  In order to correct this flaw, I think there should be a panel of unbiased members who personally look over the case and base the punishment on their findings.

Additionally both articles provide the argument that there is no rehabilitation to socialize prisoners for when they go back into society.  Rehabilitation can include therapy, academic and vocal education, recreation, social welfare, etc. The author of the article written in 1955, “What is Wrong with American Prisons and Jails,”  stated that only certain prisoners can qualify for rehabilitation. And the few that do qualify are very little in number. Even though they do qualify, the quality of rehabilitation does not result in much success.  Due to this, most prisoners commit another crime in which they go back to prison for. Recidivism is alarmingly high in our country.  

As a means to decrease recidivism, I believe more prisons should offer rehabilitation to all prisoners in hopes of socializing them back into society successfully.

Even though both articles produce similar arguments.  The most recent article, “America’s Prison System is Flawed,” touches on the racial bias of our country’s prisons.  It states that black men are imprisoned more than white men. As much as I would like to provide a solution in which to correct this flaw, our society is not perfect and does not mistake itself for a utopian community.

Furthermore, the 1955 article describes how social structure in our prison system is majorly flawed.  It described the prison scene as a jungle wherein there would have been justice in normal society, but there is not any inside.  For example, if two inmates get into an altercation, both are punished severely. Additionally, if an inmate is an altercation with a prison guard, other prison guards will back up their fellow prison guard no matter whose fault it is.  

In my opinion, it is disappointing that over 60 years our prison system has not gotten any better.  In fact, it seems to have gotten worse. There have been no improvements at all to fix any flaws. If something is not done to fix this, then crime will continue to worsen our country and its prison system.