Reports show that high rates of incarceration do not help reduce crime. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, mass incarceration rates are down in the U.S.
The increase in the incarcerated population in the United States has been a constant. With an increase that started four decades ago, it became a problem.
Statistics on Mass Incarceration in America
Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics has shown a decrease in the incarceration rates. According to these new statistics:
- Number of prisoners decreased by 21,200 (down more than 1%)
- Federal prison population decreased by 7,300 prisoners from 2015 to 2016
- Imprisonment rate in the United States decreased 2%, from 459 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents of all ages in 2015 to 450 per 100,000
During the last decades, the judicial system placed emphasis on incarceration. It had been leaving aside the rehabilitation of prisoners and reintegration programs, practically non-existent.
And many taxpayer dollars are going towards securing and maintaining prisons, which some might say is worth. But in reality, these have proven ineffective as well. Incarceration rates on the low means more opportunities for people to take back their lives.
Mass Incarceration Leads to Recidivism
The decline in the number of incarcerations benefits the United States both socially and economically. People who are not in jail can generate income, while people in jail live from tax money.
The report also concludes that prison generates negative effects on people, who may commit more crimes once they are released. Prisoners released usually have problems getting jobs and reintegrating into society. Due to both legal barriers and social stigma, former inmates have a hard time falling into a normal life again.
African American Incarceration Rate Decreases
The African American community has also been directly benefitted from this decrease. With the rate of African American imprisonment still at extraordinarily high, the decrease will signify access to a better life.
Considering the immense social, fiscal and economic costs of incarceration, investments in better programs must be made. They should focus on those to improve economic opportunities, modernize police practices, and support inmates.
The incarceration rates will keep on decreasing once there is a plan set up for more effective treatment and rehabilitation.With less incarceration come more opportunities.
Also, the deteriorated conditions of prisons can inhibit rehabilitation, influencing recidivism.