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Article Review: Mass Incarceration didn’t Lower Crime, but can Congress be Convinced?

Article Review: Mass Incarceration didn't Lower Crime, but can Congress be Convinced?

The federal government has commissioned expert advisory bodies and commissions to survey the effects of crime control policies, and a major conclusion has always been that there is no cause for belief that harsh penalties increasingly advance public safety (Tonry, 1998). The president’s Commission on law and Enforcement and Justice Administration in 1967 deduced that the social and economic genesis of crime was what needed greater concentration for crime control policies to yield great benefits. Such factors included the provision of jobs and the advancement of education, which would lead to the abolishment of ghettos and slums, thus curbing crime.

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Margret Thatcher also had an opinion that it served no purpose coming up with sentencing procedures on the assumption that a great number of offenders would put into consideration the repercussions of their deeds since crimes were always committed whenever there was an open window (Tonry, 1998). Skepticism on the more substantial crime control effects was not just a fantasy for the liberal governments since Canada had observed that if tougher measures on criminals resulted in the decline in crime rates, then the United States would have been a haven for safety more than any other country on earth (Tonry, 1998). This opinion was well illustrated by the fact that the United States had very stringent penalties on drug traffickers, and these penalties were unfortunately anchored on the supply side of the drugs, but still there were voluminous drug-trafficking incidences in the USA (Torny, 1998). Success was only achievable if the measures undertaken were against countering the demand of drugs in the United States (Tonry, 1998). Therefore, to counter crime, stringent measures needed to be applied to the factors that made one prone to crime instead of imposing stringent measures on the offenders.

In his article “Mass Incarceration didn't Lower Crime, but can Congress be Convinced”, Sneed (2015) questions the effectiveness of incarceration as a way of crime control. He reports that incarceration worked in the 1990s, but since 2000, its effect has been insignificant (Sneed, 2015). Statistics indicate that there has been a massive level of imprisonment biased towards Blacks, and the ineffectiveness in the reduction of crime rate proofs that the discrimination against people of color is wrong. The adoption of the harsh policies was designed with the belief that it would curb crime but evidence show that they have not. In the 1990s, as incarceration rose by 61%, violence crimes declined by 50% (Sneed, 2015). Similarly, property crimes also decreased by 43%, indicating that the policy had worked back then (Sneed, 2015). A recent study by Brennan center has proved that the increase in incarceration progressively reduces its effectiveness because recently, it is not been the habitual violent offenders who are locked up but rather everyone (Sneed, 2015). The incarceration of petty criminals is not the manner to bring down the crime rate. There is a proposition that incarceration should decline and so can crime as a result.

A positive direction towards crime prevention lies in the provision of a good and peaceful environment and as well as the improved and advanced education would facilitate crime reduction. Fair treatment of all races will increase the perception of secure society, thus decreasing the rate of crime significantly. Massive incarceration and, more so subjected to one race, increases insecurity to the subjected race, and their tendency to commit a crime is bound to increase. High incarceration as has failed to control crime and therefore, better control methods should be employed. Strict rules subjected toward wars against drugs have managed to function in the 1990s but its significance in the 21st century is weaker; therefore, a need for the new crime control techniques is evident.

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