st come to its senses (pun intended) and realize that a significant section of the population has either been involved with the prison/parole system… or will be. Because of this, the stigma attached to incarceration does not carry the same irrational prejudice it once had. Indeed, not only does the prison population have a large enough community to qualify for it’s own statehood - they make up a significant of the “general stir” (i.e., outside society). In all to many cases, there is little difference between the population inside the prison and the one found outside the walls.
Now this is not to say there are not individuals requiring lifetime incarceration. However, with the increase of mandatory sentencing as a deterrent for many crimes, the prison population has received an influx of inmates classified as low-risk or non-violent. Craig Haney, Ph.D., and Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D. (1998) note that a fourth of these nonviolent offenders return to jail fro a second offense - indicating that prison serves as a school for violent and criminal behavior rather than a deterrent. The 1994 analysis of the Department of Justice came to similar conclusions: “the amount of time inmates serve in prison does not increase or decrease the likelihood of recidivism, whether recidivism is measured as parole revocation, re-arrest, reconviction, or return to prison." Thus, it takes a short leap of logic to realize that fro many of these offenders, prison sentences are only perpetuating the problem. The only thing accomplished by detaining a minor offender is training them to be a more calloused criminal. These lessons are being provided free of charge and are coming from the same pockets that provide public school - the public itself. In many cases, the prisoners earn money as well via some work program, all while living on free room and board.
The solution seems obvious: a sensible purging of the prison system on a case be case basis. Although though must e used