Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week 5 - Prisons

According to our book, it costs $25,327/year to keep a person in the prison system for one year. I personally think this is an outrageous number and think we need to find a way to reduce the cost of keeping these criminals behind bars. I believe the prison system helps keep Americans safe, but I also think that by using our tax money to pay for these criminals to still live is absurd.

I firmly believe in capital punishment. In all honesty – what’s the point of keeping a person in jail for life? Assuming someone’s incarcerated at age 25 for life, and they’re going to die at 75, we’d be paying well over a million dollars to keep him in prison. Prisoners cannot vote, they don’t have jobs, they basically are locked in a room until they pass. It’s almost cruel to keep them locked up with no hope for release back into the American population. Since 1977 the number of individuals on death row has grown, due to few executions per year because of inmates trying to appeal their cases. Even if they win an appeal, they will be in jail for life. I understand the human rights point of view, but what’s the point on keeping someone in prison and trying to reform them if they can’t become a member of society?

Many people who go to prison come out better people. I have a relative who did a number of years in prison and has come out a successful businessman living in Naples, Florida. Such cases are common, but other cases where the person comes out with no hope for a better life and continues living a criminal life. As the book says, “prisons often make offenders more hardened criminals.” They come out of jail and don’t change the people they hang out with or where they hang out and get put back into the criminal system.

If we want to “cure” the problem of hardened criminals being let back onto the street we need to develop a national rehabilitation system which would help criminals get jobs and learn how to be decent members of society w/o allowing their past to determine their lives. Otherwise, we need to find a way to keep them locked up for a low price to the law-abiding taxpayers of America.

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