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What is Crime?

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Introduction

Crime Author: Dude Email: 31416@spamhole.com America's prisons have been called "graduate schools for crime." It stands to reason: Take a group of people, strip them of possessions and privacy, expose them to constant threats of violence, overcrowd their cell-block, deprive them of meaningful work, and the result is an embittered underclass more intent on getting even with society than contributing to it. Prisons take the nonviolent offender and make him live by violence. They take the nonviolent offender and make him a hardened killer. America has to wake up and realize that the current structure of our penal system is failing terribly. The government has to devise new ways to punish the guilty, and still manage to keep American citizens satisfied that our prison system is still effective. Americans pay a great deal for prisons to fail so badly. Like all big government solutions, they are expensive. In the course of my research dealing with the criminal justice system, I have learned that the government spends approximately eighty-thousand dollars to build one cell, and $28,000 per year to keep a prisoner locked up. ...read more.

Middle

Feodor Dostoevsky, a prisoner for ten years during Czarist Repression, wrote, "If one wanted to crush, to annihilate a man utterly, to inflict on him the most terrible of punishments...one need only give him work on a completely useless and irrational character." This is exactly what goes on in the "make work" approach of our prisons and it is one of the contributing factors to prison violence. To quote Jack Kemp, author of Crime and Punishment in Modern America: "The idea that a burglar should return stolen goods, pay for damage to the house he broke into and pay his victims for the time lost from work to appear at a trial meets with universal support from the American people. There is, of course, a reason that the concept of restitution appeals to America's sense of justice. Restitution also provides an alternative to imprisonment for nonviolent criminals, reducing the need for taxpayers to continue building prisons." I believe that working with the purpose of paying back someone that has been wronged allows a criminal to understand and deal with the real consequences of his actions. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most inmates learn little of value during their confinement behind bars, mostly because they adapt to prison in immature and often self-defeating ways. As a result, they leave prison no better-and sometimes considerably worse-than when they went in. The first time offender who is arrested for burglary does not belong in a prison where the only thing he will learn is how to become a better and more violent burglar. Instead, why not make him pay restitution to the store owner whom he robbed? In my opinion, if this form of punishment was initiated for the lesser offender, our prisons will have the vacancies to incarcerate the Jeffery Dahmers of the world in prison for life, instead of the infamous "ten to twenty, out in five". Crime is the result of morally responsible people making wrong moral decisions, for which they must be held accountable. The just and necessary response to such behavior is punishment, which may include restitution for community service, stiff fines, or, in cases where the offender is dangerous, prison. But let's not kid ourselves any longer. The prison was not designed to cure the individual; it was made to lock him up. ...read more.

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