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< Back to question Should prisons be abolished? Show more Show less

Prison abolitionism is an ongoing debate globally, but in American society in particular. Prisons were first created to punish the guilty for their crimes and protect the innocent from harm. Now, some are creating rehabilitation programs to help the incarcerated have a better life after being released. Are prison systems effective, and would abolishing them be beneficial for society?

Prisons should be reformed Show more Show less

Prisons and criminal justice systems around the globe, but especially in the United States, have numerous flaws and injustices that need to be corrected if any real positive change is to be seen in inmates and crime in communities is to go down.
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The current prison system is not effective

The current prison systems are not effective in lowering crime or recidivism rates and therefore should be reformed.
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The Argument

The prison system was intended to punish inmates for their crimes by separating them from the population and placing them in poor living conditions. As the prison population grew, punishment became more severe, and people were given longer sentences. Increasing incarceration rates has no correlation to lower crime rates, proving the prison system needs to be reformed to reflect rehabilitation, not suffering. Crime rates have not changed despite increased incarceration populations because more non-violent offenders are being imprisoned. This may punish criminals for their crimes, but it does nothing to change their behavior or improve their chances of success after being released.[1] Imprisoning people as a form of punishment is not effective in lowering crime rates. Instead, prisons should be reformed to help criminals gain more opportunities to keep them from reoffending. By offering rehabilitation, education, and financial opportunities to convicts, crime and recidivism rates will be lower.[2]

Counter arguments

Some criminals have committed acts so evil that they deserve to be punished. Murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals may feel no remorse or guilt from their crime and will never be able to function properly in the free world, no matter the amount of rehabilitation they receive. There will always be a small part of the population that will not benefit from prison reform programs and deserve punishment.

Premises

[P1] Prisons were designed as a punishment for committing a crime. [P2] Despite higher incarceration numbers, crime rates have not dropped. [P3] Therefore, the current prison system is not effective and should be reformed.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Some criminals would not benefit from reform programs due to the severity and evilness of their crimes.

Proponents


References

  1. https://eji.org/news/study-finds-increased-incarceration-does-not-reduce-crime/
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/crime-and-punishment/201804/why-punishment-doesnt-reduce-crime

This page was last edited on Wednesday, 20 May 2020 at 23:48 UTC

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