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Whether incarceration works or not depends largely on its efficiency and the extent to which it helps in reducing recidivism, facilitating offender rehabilitation, and promoting prisoner reentry. The analysis of the effectiveness of incarceration should also be done by looking at whether prisons are serving their primary function which is to deter criminal activity. This paper argues that incarceration does not work because it fails to deter criminal behavior and instead breeds a new crop of hardcore criminals who are a danger to the society.
One of the reasons incarceration does not work is that the mass incarceration of criminals does not provide individuals with the opportunity to reform their criminal behaviors but instead turns them into hardcore criminals (Chattanoog, 2015). The harsh conditions inside prisons make inmates be vulnerable to other criminal activities and behaviors because the conditions provide a conducive environment for bad behavior to thrive. Moreover, because of lack of adequate rehabilitation facilities and programs, most incarcerated prisoners rarely change their behaviors thus returning to the society as even worse people who present the greatest danger to others. The mass incarceration also makes it almost impossible to have individualized treatment and monitoring of inmates thus reducing their chances of being rehabilitated.
Furthermore, incarceration of offenders does not help reduce reoffending among some inmates. According to a study by Mitchell, Cochran, and Bales (2017), prisons are not effective in reducing drug offender recidivism because of lack of specialized drug treatment personnel, facilities, and programs. Being in prison in itself exposes inmates to drugs since the prison walls provide a good opportunity for some inmates to smuggle drugs into the cells. Hence, as this study indicates, even though imprisonment may work for some offenders, it does not reduce recidivism among all categories of offenders. Moreover, a study by Berenji, Chou, and D’Orsogna (2014) found that imposing harsh punishments on incarcerated criminals does not in itself make incarceration work as it hardens the offenders. Moreover, the lack of enough prison resources also makes it difficult for some prison facilities to cater for the rehabilitative needs of some inmates thus decreasing their likelihood of reforming.........................GET A PLAGIARISM FREE COPY