Incarceration in America: Where the Correctional System Fails in Maintaining Sustainable Communities and How It Can Be More Effective
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Throughout the last forty years, the American penal system has grown to possess the highest incarceration rate in the world. Over two million people are currently imprisoned in institutions across the United States. The prison culture within these institutions tends to breed criminals rather than reform them resulting in the tendency for these criminals to reoffend after release. High recidivism rates reflect the ineffectiveness of the penal system to reform criminals. As a result of mass incarceration, American society has suffered on the community level to the national level. This research paper will demonstrate the need for reform in the penal system through current statistics and propose how the system can be made more effective through examination of examples of reform programs that have been successful. The research will provide a twofold solution to the problem with the penal system. First, sentencing policy change is necessary to reduce the number of people incarcerated as well as the length of stays. Second, sustainable reform programs need to implemented to help reform criminals to reenter society. The findings of this research will provide insight into how to improve the criminal justice system and, in return, promote safer communities.