Eliminate or reform?

When I read the question “Do you believe incarceration could be/is a viable option for rehabilitating people who may be accused or convicted of a crime?” My answer was a quick yes, but now I can see it is deeper than I thought. Incarceration in the U.S. is not a perfect system by far. People in jail live in poor conditions without rights, health or true rehabilitation. The federal justice system has many broken pieces that need to be fixed.

  • There are thousands of people in prison that don’t deserve to be there. Some people commit a crime without knowing the damage behind their actions. They don’t know that there is more outside of what they know, and the system doesn’t teach them that either.
  • The American prison system is based on punishment and oppression. As mentioned in the meeting “Every topic that Steven brought up is a theme of colonialism, a way to oppress people.” Punishment is not the answer to fix any problem, but to help others to be conscious of their actions. Help people to be better versions of themselves.
  • Most of the prisons do not have recreational activities, support vocational training or education – all of which will help reduce crime. It is hard for the formerly incarcerated after release to get a job. They lack the tools and skills to secure employment and become able to reintegrate into their communities. 

The constant increase of jails and prisons gives the green light to judges and courts to continue sending people to prison as they please. Eighty billion dollars are spent in a year for locking up people. Why spend all this money on a system when it is not helping people? The American penitentiary system is now a big moneymaker for private companies that are responsible for managing and maintaining prisons, turning prisoners into a lucrative enterprise. 

However, it does not mean it can not be fixed. I am still learning about the American system in general, and can not give a proper solution to this topic. I truly believe that it can be fixed and is missing a lot of conditions, justice, and empathy.  Most of the time people see that somebody committed a crime and are pretty quick to judge that person. What most people do not see is the situation behind that crime, what lead that person to do it?. There should be a filter, should be a fairer system. Incarceration could be a viable option for rehabilitating those who need it (that have been harmful to the community) and not everybody that has committed a crime.

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