Prisons are Obsolete

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Prisons are Obsolete

Atharv Naidu and Avi Konduri

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A prison is a place of confinement for lawbreakers convicted of serious crimes. However, law enforcement usually does not offer rehabilitation to give prisoners a second chance The environment is harsh, and henceforth if they are released, they find it hard to integrate back into society. This leads to many ex-convicts returning to prison. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “An estimated two-thirds (68 percent) of 405,000 prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 were arrested for a new crime within three years of release from prison, and three-quarters (77 percent) were arrested within five years.”(2) Another reason for this is that The US Department of Justice offers no rehabilitation after release, so ex-inmates cannot blend into society; This especially affects younger inmates after they are released. So, what does all of this imply?


Prisons in the US are most definitely obsolete, but why is this the case?   

The reason for this problem was that the approach the US government took towards the purpose of prison was flawed. This approach is the primary reason for the US penitentiary system predicament. Today due to the  “tough on crime” approach the US government has taken in the past, it is the main purpose a prison seems to be serving as a deterrent and a punitive system. Yet this system also seems to be failing to serve its purpose, which is a deterrent. As over the past 30 years, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), “the federal prison population has jumped from 25,000 to 219,000 inmates, an increase of nearly 790 percent. ” While in comparison, the US population has only grown approximately 44% since 1980, which is nothing compared to the increase in the prison population. This proves that the “tough on crime” approach is a failure. So what approach should the government take instead?


The government should probably try to rehabilitate, the prisoner, not punish them, or use them as an example. This approach has been shown to reduce Recidivism. For example, participation in an intensive re-educational program for as little as four months reduced the frequency of violent reoffending after leaving the jail by 83 percent, compared with a matched control group in a conventional jail. This program has also saved taxpayers four dollars for every one dollar spent on it. (1). This shows that reforming the penitentiary system would actually save taxpayers money, by reducing re-incarceration rates.


1.Gillian, James. “Prison Could Be Productive. ”, 19 Dec. 2012