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An Alternative for Prison

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:29 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 51.4 
  • Words: 1581
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America's prisons have been called "graduate schools for crime."   It


stands to reason:   Take a group of people, strip them of possessions and


privacy, expose them to constant threats of violence, overcrowd their


cell-


block, deprive them of meaningful work, and the result is an embittered


underclass more intent on getting even with society than contributing to


it.


Prisons take the nonviolent offender and make him live by violence.   They


take the nonviolent offender and make him a hardened killer.   America has


to wake up and realize that the current structure of our penal system is


failing terribly.   The government has to devise new ways to punish the


guilty, and still manage to keep American citizens satisfied that our


prison


system is still effective.


Americans pay a great deal for prisons to fail so badly.   Like all big


government solutions, they are expensive.   In the course of my studies


dealing with the criminal justice system, I have learned that   the


government spends approximately eighty-thousand dollars to build one cell,


and $28,000 per year to keep a prisoner locked up.   That's about the same


as the cost of sending a student to Harvard.   Because of overcrowding, it


is


estimated that more than ten-billion dollars in construction is needed to


create sufficient space for just the current prison population.   The plain


truth is that the very nature of prison, no matter how humane society


attempts to make it, produces an environment that is inevitably


devastating


to its residents.   Even if their release is delayed by longer sentences,


those


residents inevitably return to damage the community, and we are paying


top dollar to make this possible.


Why should tax payers be forced to pay   amounts to keep


nonviolent criminals sitting in prison cells...

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