This article discusses the problem of “the disproportionate growth in inmates over the past two decades”¯. According the the study of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of state and federal prisoners increased to a great extent. Fox Butterfield, the author of the article considers that although the number of arrests in the USA rose, the rate of crime became lower. It means that the most part of the criminals is locked in the US prisons. On the one hand, this is a positive information, but on the other hand the cost fighting crime in the country rose to a great extent. Today, when the USA are faced a serious problem of deficit of state budgets, this problem requires fast solution. The US prisons became “the prime candidates to save money”¯. Alfred Blumstein who is an experienced criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University considers that “the public and politicians became more punitive”¯, sentencing more and more criminals to incarceration for longer terms.(Butterfild)
Kevin Henry’s Essay The Cost of Incarceration
Kevin Henry touches upon the theme of the major reasons of incarceration in the USA. He argues that people who committed crimes and were locked either have not got any education or have a ninth grade educational level. Moreover, they were incarcerated for those crimes which are related to their economic situation and their status in our society. The fact that most of prisoners have a low level of education, and can find only low-paying jobs proves that these people “have turned to crime simply in order to survive”¯. (Henry)
The author of the article considers that the crimes committed by these people influence the life of other citizens. For example, high interest and insurance rates, high prices, great personal loss – all these facts are the consequences of numerous robberies and burglaries. In addition, the additional costs for incarcerating the criminal influence the economic system of the country to a great extent.
H.R.1593, Second Chance Act of 2007
H.R. 1593 would authorize large sums of money for the grant programs of the Department of Justice in order to improve the treatment of prisoners and to prepare them for the successful re-entry (about $10 million a year).
All in all, the implementing of H.R. 1593 would take about $400 million over the five year period (2008-2012). This money will be spent on the educational activities, on the assistance to the prisoners after their returning home, on the drug-treatment programs. (H.R. 1593: Second Chance Act of 2007)
Re-enter: The Social Cost of Incarceration ”“ a Project which helps ex-prisoners and their families
This project has the major goal – to help ex-prisoners to start a new life. The specialists who started this project are interested in the programs which exist in the USA to help ex-prisoners, their needs and problems which include barriers to education, employment, housing, healthcare, social problems and so on. Moreover, this project explores the problems of those children whose parents are in prison. Besty Rubiner represents special program- Going Home Re-entry Program which helps ex-prisoners to strengthen family ties, to improve their parenting skills, to find well-paid jobs, good housing, and efficient treatment. This project represents a great deal of other variants for the ex-prisoners in the United States. (Daunis, Paneck 4)
DISCISSION OF THE KEY ISSUES
It is clear that certain changes should be made by the governmental agencies of the USA in order to improve the situation in the US prisons and to give the opportunity to ex-prisoners to live a full life without crimes. Richard Coley and Paul Barton recommend to alter the established system of education for prisoners. They are sure that federal and state justice and education departments should work together to provide effectiveness of education and training programs for the prisoners. The other problem concerns the prisoners’ children who can easily replace their parents in the US prisons if the governmental agencies ignore them.
Another problem is related to the young Black males who do not have a high school diploma. According to the statistical data, the incarceration rate for the Black males is the highest ”“ 13%, while the Whites is only 2%, the Hispanic population is only 4%. It is also known that more than 50% of the Black males without high education have a prison record. That is why, while in prison they have enough time to get their high school diplomas and training for a job in order to have the opportunity to earn a living on their returning home. (Coley et al. 4)
Cait Murphy, the other expert who represented a lot of his ideas concerning the fate of prisoners in the US prisons,
argues that it is necessary to think about different methods which should be used to reduce the amount of prisoners in the US prisons and jails. Among his recommendations are numerous educational programs which can save money spent on incarceration, intensive drug treatment programs, vocational training. (Murphy 1)
The author of the article With Longer Sentences, Cost of Fighting Crimes is Higher, Fox Butterfield concludes that the major reason of the high growth of number of prisoners in the USA prisons is connected with the fact that our society became much more punitive. He considers that it in necessary to alter the relation to the criminals whose crime are not so violent. This will help the government to save money of the state budgets. (Butterfield)
Kevin Henry who has explored the problem of cost of incarceration in the United States also considers that it is necessary to provide the prisoners with the educational opportunities in order “to raise themselves higher on the rungs of the job market”¯. Moreover, the author of the study argues that the prisoners will be able to cultivate their self esteem what is very important for prevention crime. Poor self esteem can lead to the feeling of worthlessness. Lack of education also leads to the feeling of inadequacy and to the crime. Moreover, Kevin Henry stands out for the inmate recreational programs which will help the prisoners to get rid of their mental and emotional problems and to return to their communities in a good health form without any ideas to commit crimes again. (Henry)
The project Re-enter: The Social Cost of Incarceration gives a great deal of recommendations concerning the improvement of ex-prisoners life. The major conclusions which can be taken from this study show that the state and the society should support those people who committed crimes but who have a great desire to alter their lives and to become true citizens of their country.
In order to make conclusions concerning the above mentioned studies, it is necessary to refer to the broad mission of the US Department of Education which plays an important role in the fate of ex-prisoners.
The Broad Mission of the US Department of Education
It is known that the US Department of Education was established in 1980 and has the following mission:
”¢ to assure access to equal education in the country;
”¢ to promote improvements and innovations in the quality of education;
”¢ to make improvements in Federal education programs;
”¢ to provide appropriate accountability of different Federal education programs to the President and Congress, and to the public;
”¢ to encourage the public to be involved in numerous Federal education programs.(US Department of Education)
It is clear that the US Department of Education should take an active part in the process of education incarcerated people because their good results will influence their future work. In other words, ex-prisoners who will get their high diplomas and appropriate training in prison will be able to start a new life when they return to their communities. Moreover, they will be able to earn money honestly and to pay due attention to their families. In addition, they will have a chance to raise their self-esteem what is very important for the psychological state of any person.
The Department of Education should be involved in all the above mentioned issues concerning the incarcerated people because it will guarantee good results and sufficient support of the significant governmental organization. Of course, it will require certain changes in the mission of the Department of Education because incarcerated take a special place in our society. These people are criminals who violated the established rules but, nevertheless, most of them are ready to correct their mistakes and to start a new life. I think that joint actions should be taken by the Justice and Education Departments concerning the education of incarcerated. Only in this case, good results will be achieved.
In conclusion, I should say that I hope the Department of Education and Justice Department will pay due attention to my proposed resolution.
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