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Research Paper - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Reducing Prison Population in the U.S Overcrowding in U.S prisons has become a major concern and the country is assessing possible ways of combating this problem. To accomplish this, the authorities and other involved parties are attempting to deal with this issue by analyzing laws which are harsh than they should be…
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Download file to see previous pages... The laws that govern the sentences made towards the felons who commit drug related offenses include Three Strikes law and the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The Rockefeller laws were passed during a time that the government had declared war against drugs. Under this law, possession or sale of heroin, cannabis, and cocaine would call for a minimum of 15 years imprisonment (Barton-Bellessa et al. 50-51). Following the adoption of the Rockefeller laws, the prison population has been on the rise leading to constraints on available resources. The other law that has been criticized for being unnecessarily strict is the Three Strikes Law, which is directed towards individuals with previous counts of felony. Under this law, an individual convicted of a new felony having gone through a previous conviction of a serious crime is to be sentenced twice the term for the new crime (Judicial Council of California). Moreover, if a person was convicted of a crime having been through two prior sentences, this law requires that such an individual be imprisoned for at least 25 years or life imprisonment. Both laws have been criticized in the past and continue to receive criticism since they are unfairly harsh. Bearing in mind that prison space is finite, enacting such laws calls for additional resources, which come from the Amcferican taxpayers making their standards of living even harder. Therefore, I believe that this space should be filled with the most appropriate individuals and find alternative corrections for other criminals such as those who are drug related. For instance, drug related felons should be handled in community settings especially those that were involved in crimes while under the influence of drugs. Due to these laws, street addicts are being held in the prisons with insufficient resources for dealing with the mental health problems they might be going through as a result of the addiction (Gray). To me, from a logical perspective of view, it would not be of importance to imprison a mentally disturbed individual while there is a better option. If the American government takes this into serious consideration, it would reduce the prison population since individuals would be tested to determine whether they were in the right state of mind while committing a crime. Moreover, this would make more sense both from the perspectives of economic and logical aspects to provide an initial diversion from prison systems to community based health providers for the street addict. From my point of view, prison space should only be reserved for violent predators who committed the crimes in the right state of mind and repeat offenders without application of the three strikes law. This space should not be reserved for an individual who was arrested with cannabis worth a few dollars. However, if the individual must be jailed, 15 years is unreasonably long for such a crime. In fact, these laws have not improved the issue of drug sale and abuse in the U.S. This is because drugs still flock the American streets and new drugs such as methamphetamine have been introduced. With respect to non-violent street addicts, treatment and rehabilitation should be the first option in the line of defense for such individuals (McLemore 10-11). The unfair punitive effect brought by the Rockefeller Law in addition to the rigidity of the Three ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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