Thenumber of prisoners in the United States has been on the rise overthe years. The focus on this system is the overreliance onimprisonment to solve the societal problems. Marc in his bookfocusses on the issues that have arisen in the society and how thenumbers of prisons have grown over the years. he looks at the rootcause of the rise in the prisons an how the leaders have neglectedthe need to fight the root of the problem instead of being impulsiveof their decisions regarding the social ills in society. There isalso an injustice that is seen with the justice system whereindividuals of black origin are bearing the brunt of the imprisonmentlaws. Over time policies have been enacted that are narrowing thechannels of appeal and justice regarding the ills that are found insociety leading to imprisonment of even petty offenders in society.The effect of this run away justice system has been unfairimprisonment and confinement and in turn robing the society of a workforce that would help indeveloping the nation. The counter effect ofall this is that society tendsto rebel against the laws and systemand the goals that the system was aimed at achieving in the end isundermined. The article below looks at the race to incarceration andthe effects it has had in the society. Focus is mainly on theeffects it has had in the food industry, on businesses andorganizations at large.
Thenumber of people in correctional centers has doubled over time.Prisons in the United States are now handling double the capacitythey are intended to handle. This has had an effect on thetraditional anchors of the country’s economy especially the NorthAmerican region.The numbers have had an effect on the mining, sectorthe logging industry, manufacturing and the dairy sector. In the endthis has affected the food area as a general. Labor in the farmingsector is mostly provided by the unskilled force in the society.Statistics show that about 1.8milion people were n prisons as at1999. Of this number, 70% are said to be illiterate and 90% of thewhole prison population are male prisoners[CITATION Wes10 p p.9 l 1033 ].This shows how the labor force that is intended to work in the farmshas been affected.The food sector is really struggling to feed its own population andthe country has been forced into importations. The sector has alsohas its toll on the economy in terms of finances. $1.5 billion habeen spent in building correctional facilities and as the number ofprisoners increases, so does the number of employees in thesefacilities. Thisboom means an increase in the wages that the stateneeds to apportion in terms of funds to the sector. Also, there isneed for more food rations to be allocated to the prisons providing aburden to the food industry.
Incomparison, if these individuals were free, chances are a biggerportion would be producing their own food if only for subsistenceconsumption and the burden would be lighter on the food industry.Albeit all this the prison sector has led to the growth of economiesin the areas they are instituted given the employment opportunitiesand the labor they provide for the local industries. Prison numbersboom have also led t a high dependency rates for the family members.Given , the 90% being male, it means a lot of dependents lose theirbread winners and have to depend on food stamps that the governmentprovides and the services provided by Medicare and Medicaid.Legislators need to be concerned given this trend. The taxpayers alsoneed to be concerned given that the money intended for other serviceswill end up in feeding the prison population and their dependentsleft in poverty on their own.
AnneMacKinnon in her article Network’s‘Siberia’, a North Countryresidence is of the opinion that the prison boom has helped smalltowns grow. For her area she says almost everyone seems to have arelative working in the prison and this has reduced the migration ofpeople looking for jobs. In addition to that she points us to theinjustice of the justice system imprisoning mostly black Americansand the desolate state of dependents. She points out that in New Yorkon Fridays, around 800 people, mostly women and children and almostall African American gather at the Columbus circle taking buses tovisit inmates. She is in support of the employment opportunitiesarguing that with social ills there will be rise in the number ofprisons and prisoners and people need to embrace the opportunitiesthat come with all this.
Westernand Pettitin his MIT journal, point out to the fact that America’ssocial injustices have been magnified by the rise in the prisonpopulation. In it he argues that prison has brought out a group thatis united by poverty, crime, low education and social minority. Theypoint out to the high numbers of black American inmates and how thisis a deprivation of a labor force to society and a fuel to highdependency ratios.He also points out that these groups are notincluded in the statistics of poverty and unemployment and thus theeffects of high incarceration are under estimated. According to thetwo authors, more needs to be done to note the effects of highincarceration. Also, the justice system should be applied equally forit to achieve its intended correctional goal on the imprisonedindividuals[CITATION Wes10 p p.8 l 1033 ].
Thereis also the argument that the harsh judicial judgmentsshould beanalyzed to help reduce the prison numbers of the petty offenders insociety. This will help in controlling the labor force and ensuringthat the numbers do exist that help in the economy in terms of foodproduction and economic development. This category should also beempowered give their literacy levels so that they can be independent.
Westernand Pettit opinions concerning incarceration are valid. There is alot of injustice in the law concerning the imprisonment of the blackAmericans. This lot needs protection from the government. Most ofthem migrated from their countries and came to the US to offer labor.They help the economy grow. From the statistics above it is evidentthat both the rich and the poor are involved in crime but it is thepoor that bear the brunt of the justice system. Also there is need toempower the illiterate and the low income earners. In 1996, Steven R.Donzinger, the National Criminal Justice Commission head , gave anexplanation that if crime is on the rise then there is need to buildmore prisons and if crime reduces its because more prisons werebuilt.This has led to building of more prisons and has led to areduction in the crime statistics.Nationally, there need to be lawsto help in curbing the numbers as well as reduce the crime rates.Citizens need to be empowered on the need to work and not to dependon crime. Education should also help in passing information againstcrime and substance abuse. This should be done both at the nationaland local levels.
Asyoung students, we should else help in such ventures by passing theeducation to our peers. Most of the black Americans imprisoned areyoung men and therefore we are in a better position at reaching them.We should also, do advocacy programs and events to urge thegovernment to be impartial in their fight against crime. Forming ofassociations also helps in empowering the low income earners and thedesolate in society who are trapped into crime by their need[ CITATION Sch98 l 1033 ].
Inconclusion, poverty and illiteracy level are seen to be a bigcontributor to the high numbers of incarceration. Drug abuse is alsoa big contributor, but the harsh Rockefeller law has seen theincarceration of many drug abusers. Legislators and policy makersneed to provide guidance with regards to these socials ills. Thereshould be laws that protect both races in society equally.As seen bystatistics, also drug abuse prevalence is same for both white andblack, the black person is five times likely to be arrested thantheir white counterparts[ CITATION Sch98 l 1033 ].Thiswill ensure that there is cooperation from the citizens in publicpolicing.
Schlosser, Eric. "The Prison-Industrial Complex." TheAtlantic (1998).
Western, Bruce and Becky Pettit. "Incarceration and Social Injustice ." MIT Press Journals (2010): 8-19.
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