There are over 2,000,000 people incarcerated in the US. This country has 5% of the earth’s population but 25% of those incarcerated. At least 2,500 children under the age of eighteen are in prison for life without the possibility of parole.
Kentucky is seventh in the US for the number of people in prison. Thirteen percent of children in KY have a parent incarcerated compared to the national average of 7%. At this time there are 24,000 inmates in thirteen prisons, one which is privately run. The annual cost per prisoner is $25,594.
Of note, from 1985 to 2015 the overall crime rate declined by 19 percent, but during that same 30-year period the number of prisoners rose by 271 percent!
It’s called Department of Corrections, but is that a misnomer? Can we say there is “correction” when the recidivism rate is 35-40% and by the ninth year as high as 80%?
What is the purpose of locking people in prison for years? Four possible motives for incarceration include:
- Retribution and punishment
If #1 how long is long enough? For #2 being locked away is the only answer. Number three indicates that the threat of prison prevents crime, but if that is so why do we have more people in prison than ever before? How much rehabilitation (#4) actually happens in prison? How does it happen?
It is easy to take imprisonment for granted. People commit crimes. People pay. It is not that simple. Each case, judge, jury and parole board is different. There is no “one size fits all” in corrections.
We will discuss this subject further in the next posts.
1 of 3 on this topic
“America is the land of the second chance – and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.” George W. Bush
The SOURCE of most of this information is a class at Bellarmine University taught by Gaye Holman, Author, “Decades Behind Bars: A Twenty-year Conversation with Men in America’s Prisons.”