American Corrections Term Paper

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American Corrections

The statistics about imprisoned Americans in jails of local, state, and federal prisons and juvenile detention centers reveals a growth from 1,319,000 numbers in 2002 to 2,166,260 in 2002. During the year 2003 has seen the fastest rate of growth of imprisonment over the period of recent four years. The rate of growth of prisoners in state prisons is estimated to 1.8% while that in federal prisons is 7.1% and in local jails in 3.9%. Contrast to a growth rate of 2.7% among the male prisoners in the state and federal prisons, the prisoners the female prisoners grew by 5%. It is noticed that even though the growth rate of the female prisoners are than that of male prisoners, yet the male prisoners in terms of absolute numbers are much higher than the female prisoners who are only 100,102 in comparison to the male prisoners of 1.36 million numbers. (Cass, Report: 1 of Every 75 U.S. Men in Prison)

Taking the scenario of federal prisons in to consideration, the 163,528 numbers of prisoners constitute the highest in any of the states. The increasing number of prisoners during 1995-2001 is mostly attributed to drug crimes as much as 45%, whereas only 9% are due to violent criminal activities. (Butterfield, A6) The prisoners convicted out of drug crimes constitute nearly two third in the federal prisons and it is nearly one fourth in case of state and local prisons. About one fourth of the prisoners in the federal and state prisons are mostly non-violent and are convicted out of the offences associated with the drugs. The impact of new drug policy is most on women captivity that forced the rate of growth by nearly hundred percent than that of men since 1980. It has been estimated that nearly one third of the women prisoners are presently due to the crimes associated with drugs. (Chaddock, 7)

During the periods of Clinton and Bush Senior efforts were made by the congress along with the Presidents to centralize some illegitimate gun possession cases, which increased the number of prisoners under the category by around 70%. The statistics also accounted for two third of the total prisoners of America are under the captivity of the States, in the Columbian District and at the central level while only the rest are in the custody of local jails. The national growth rate of prisoners is attributed to increase in their growth rate in some of major states such as Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, etc. It is evident that in California the number of prisoners is highest among the states and the Texas has the highest proportion of prisoners in relation to its population. (Parkin, 69) The number of prisoners in California considered being highest accounts to be 162,317 and next to it are 162,003 in Texas. The rate of imprisonment in Louisiana is considered to be the highest with 794 per 100,000 inhabitants. The growth of prisoners in ten states is calculated to be a minimum of 5%. It is surprising to notice large growth rates in case of small states like Vermont with 12.2%, Minnesota with 9.4% and Maine with 9.1%. (Cass, Report: 1 of Every 75 U.S. Men in Prison)

The representation of the growth of imprisonment in terms of proportion to the total population, however, makes it incomprehensible to derive the impact of captivity on the different groups of the population. The recent policies of the Government in this manner seem to affect the most to the African-American male population. It has been estimated that the total prisoners during 2002 include 442,300 black males in the age groups of 25 to 29 constituting about 10.4%. Contrary to this the Hispanic men and white men of that age group has a share of only 2.4% and 1.2% respectively. (Butterfield, A6)

It is also revealed that about 12% of total black male are imprisoned at the age of 20s against 3.7% of Hispanic men and 1.6% of white men of the same age group. (Cass, 4) The disproportionate imprisonment against ethnic minorities rose from the 80's, with growing captivity of blacks in comparison to the whites. It is evident that the proportionate prisoners constituting black male in each of the states surpasses their ratio to the total population. The growth in the rate of the black male is surprisingly higher. (Greenfeld, et. al, 35) The existence of this significant disproportion adversely against black male is not of recent origin; however, according to the studies in the Department of Justice it is officially recognized with style='color:#000;text-decoration: underline!important;' target='_blank' href='' rel="follow">empirical evidence only in 2003.According to the studies made in the Department of Justice, birth of a black male predicts 29% of his life in imprisonment either in State or Federal prisons. (Chaddock, 7)

The frequency of conviction by the federal courts in case of blacks is more in comparison to the whites due to their increased involvement in the crimes associated with crack cocaine confirmed their feelings of heavier prosecutions in respect of crack cocaine against powder cocaine as the directives of the federal law. The rate of imprisonment of the blacks has a positive correlation with the higher rate of their concentration in the urban areas of the States, which in turn have profound impact on the crime rate and legal violation. Not only is the quantity of imprisonment dreadful but also their undulating effects, which are not to be undermined. The higher probability of imprisonment of blacks makes the generation of black children susceptible to captivity. The present trend forecasts the probability of one to three in case of American black male population for being imprisoned during the lifetime. (Chaddock, 7)

While the figures in case of Hispanic male and white male is one in six and one in seventeen respectively. The vulnerability of other groups such as Afro-American women, Hispanics and Native Americans not as intense as that of black males however, the rates are still more than the national average and exhibiting a steady growth rate over the period of time. The higher growth rates of imprisonment of the racial and ethnic minorities are accounted for to the strict government policies which also reduced the overall violent-crime rates. However, some analysts pointed out that the policy fails to protect the American Society, especially with due regard to the ethnical minorities and poverty ridden groups. (Chaddock, 8) The discriminatory treatment towards minorities such as racial profiling, etc. By the process of criminal justice also give rise to increasing proportion of prisoners from these communities. Ruthless treatment of minority youth is being observed in comparison to the white criminals in the sphere of criminal justice system pertaining to juvenility. (Parkin, 69)

In terms of economic prosperity the United States ranks the highest; however, surprisingly this also exhibits the equally higher rates of captivity. America presently ranks highest in respect of imprisonment both in terms of absolute number as well as proportion to total population. What is shocking is its continuous growing trend. The published statistics reveals about the largest prisoners are in America. Next to America in terms of the number of prisoners China ranks high and in terms of rates of growth Russia is placed in the second position. The growth rate of the prisoners were highest in Russia over a period of time, but it come down due to liberation of large number of prisoners since 1998. The general pardon of the prisoners in Russia has substantially reduced the ratio of prisoners to its total population that once competed with that of America, to 584 to 100,000. Besides the growth of prisoners in America, presently is astounding. What is shocking, as per The Sentencing Project group endeavoring to promote alternatives to the prison, is the rate of captivity in America is highest in the world. In comparisons to the rates of 169 prisoners for 100,000 populations in Mexico and 116 in Canada, 143 for England and Wales the rates in America is considered too high. (Cass, Report: 1 of Every 75 U.S. Men in Prison)

The report published by the Department of Justice during 2003 emphasized on the 5.6 million American prisoners. (Chaddock, 7) This is considered as the highest ever number in this respect and due to unabated growth of prisoners during past three decades. The comparison of number of prisoners in America presently demonstrates a six fold raise to that of the figures in the 1970's prior to initiation of adopting a policy of getting tougher. This not only demonstrates a record level of growth rate but establish the nation at the highest rank in terms of enforcement and captivity. This unprecedented rise in the growth rate of the prisoners has led United States to leap ahead of Russia to become the world leader, in this respect. In order to put forth a comparative figure it can be laid down that the rate of imprisonment in United States presently is five to eight times higher than that of its contemporary developed countries of Western…

Sources Used in Documents:


Butterfield, Fox. Study Finds 2.6% Increase in U.S. Prison Population. The New York Times. July 28, 2003, pp: 6-7

Cass, Connie. Report: 1 of Every 75 U.S. Men in Prison. May 28, 2004. Associated Press. Retrieved at

Chaddock, Gail Russell. U.S. notches world's highest incarceration rate. The Christian Science Monitor. Domestic Edition. August 18, 2003, pp: 7-8

Dan Parkin, U.S. inmates top 2 million. International Socialist Review, January-February 2002; p69

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