Mass Incarceration: An Intro To Our American Epidemic
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Politics and Activism

Mass Incarceration: An Intro To Our American Epidemic

Why is China, which is both communist and huge, doing a better job?

Mass Incarceration: An Intro To Our American Epidemic
Resolution 2016-035: To encourage the development of strategies designed to significantly reduce the jail population in the city of Richmond by proactively decreasing reliance on incarceration through changes in sentencing policy, jail policy, social policy and law enforcement policy to end “mass incarceration.”

Like with many issues that affect us nationally, in order to be broken down, they need to be pulled from the roots. Federal laws regarding incarceration need to be altered, but as we work towards that larger goal, we as smaller communities have to push forward in our way. The small strides that we make on our own can lead to bigger triumphs.

There was a city council meeting on the 23rd of May regarding this very issue. We as a society have made throwing our people in jail as the first and only solution when it comes to handling problems.

One in every 100 people are incarcerated in America. That’s more than both Mexico and communist China, despite the dangerous label we’ve placed on Mexico and the fact that China has a much larger population than we do. Even more upsetting: according to the Department of Justice, almost half of charges against inmates are drug related, even though less than three percent were violent offenses.

It can be said that we have let punishment take precedence over rehabilitation. This is mainly due to the fact that we as a nation have deemed a quick fix, i.e. tossing our people in jail, as a better means of “solving” a problem than actually doing so.

Shouldn't we be aiming to combat the issue of addiction rather than immediately condemning those that fall victim to it? No one becomes an addict for no reason. Addiction is a form of self-medication, meaning that there is some sort of wound that people feel the need to fix. I.e. trauma, of all sorts, and poverty- which has many different layers and factors.

Though the Richmond County Justice Center has several programs that are geared towards education and helping the residents out of their addictive habits, the same can't be said for all Virginia jails or prisons, and definitely not a lot of others in the nation.

There are many, horrific accounts of the brutal treatment of inmates from several different states, from both guards and residents. While it is said that treatment is different depending on the severity of your crime, most who have been locked up would agree that once you’re in, no one in charge really cares who you are or where you’ve come from.

The separation of inmates from society has got to stop. Members of the free community have preconceived notions about the lives of those behind bars, though most of us have no room to judge. How many of us can say that we have never at any point done anything illegal, even if it wasn’t drug related?

You would be surprised at the hefty charges placed on people with insurmountable amounts of potential who were just dealt bad cards or placed in bad situations.

Mass incarceration is a business. It is disgusting. It is accepted. We as a society have got to turn this way of living on its head.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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