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Population in our Massachusetts Prisons/ Middleton House of Corrections - Research Paper Example

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Clients Name Name of Professor Name of Class Date Population in our Massachusetts Prisons/ Middleton House of Corrections Incarceration in the United States is growing in numbers and has been making a significant impact on the financial health of state and federal revenue…
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Population in our Massachusetts Prisons/ Middleton House of Corrections
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Download file to see previous pages The major reason for the high volume of minorities in our prison system is because of racism, poverty, and broken homes. Since 1972, the prison population in Massachusetts has increased by 700% and has grown from 2867 inmates in 1980 to 11400 inmates in 2008 (Boeri). The costs of housing prisoners is high and create a great burden on the state, depleting funds and creating a deficit that cannot be properly supported within the system. The average cost of incarcerating a prisoner in Massachusetts per year is $24, 918 per year, which is more than is spent per year on a child to educate them (O‘Brien). The national average of spending per child is $9,683, which means that it costs far less to provide education than it does to incarcerate a child after they have fallen through the system and turned to crime (National Center for Education Statistics). The ‘war on crime’ has reached a high importance in the public discourse. The needs of preventing crime through valuable educations that lead to a college education has been overshadowed by the idea that crime is an enemy that must be fought, rather than a social construct that has been defined against the behaviors of people. Part of the problem is that the way that behaviors are defined is biased against certain social groups, encouraging further criminal behavior. As an example, research done by Dr. John Lamberth from Temple University proved that in New Jersey, African American drivers and Caucasian drivers committed about the same percentage of violations while driving, but that 73.3% of the drivers stopped for those violations were African American (Harris 265). This occurs because of racial prejudices and profiling. According to Glover, ““the use of racial and/or ethnic status as the determinant factor in decisions to stop motorists either in the absence of indications of criminality or in determining who to enforce law against” is the way to define racial profiling for traffic violations (11). This type of pervasive prejudice is not only typical of the police department, but of the legal system as well. Acts that reflect racial profiling are often committed so that police will have access to the property of those they deem to be at a higher risk for greater crimes beyond traffic issues. This reflects the attitude of the legal system because of the statistical disparities experienced by African Americans and other non-Caucasian people. Lippman states that ““defendants charged with killing Caucasian victims were four times as likely to receive the death penalty as defendants charged with killing African Americans and that African American defendants were one and one-tenth times as likely to receive the death sentence as other defendants (79). In 2008, 1,338 African Americans are sentenced to death with 1,798 Caucasians sentenced to the death penalty (Source Book of Criminal Justice Statistic Online). While that percentage difference seems low, the actual numbers are high when compared to the overall population, thus suggesting that there is a prejudice occurring in the legal system. The population is only 12.06% African American with Caucasians making up 69.13% of the overall number of people in the United States. In addition, laws are written in such a way as to create racial divisions between the sentencing in types of crimes that are committed. Sentencing for cocaine usage reveals the way in which laws are designed to create ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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