Prison system is corrupt

Lochan Acharya

The U.S. incarceration rate has skyrocketed since the 1970s. America has approximately 4% of the world’s people and about 25% of the world’s incarcerated people, according to CNN. Louisiana is the worst in the nation. According to USNEWS, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate of 1,094 per 100,000 people. According to Prison Policy Initiative, the imprisonment rates have grown dramatically in the past 40 years, which is about 400%. In addition, 41% of American juveniles and young adults are arrested by the time they turn 23. The reason for such a high rate is bad policy. Once you’ve gone to prison, it’s hard to get a job in America. Convicts are ineligible for welfare, student loans, public housing, food stamps and are often socially disconnected from community and family, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. There are three levels of the criminal justice system in the U.S: the police, the courts and the corrections system. The corrections system in the U.S. violates international standards as it is a devastating form of punishment. Solitary confinement increases instability and violence in inmates and is considered by international law to be torture, according to the American Friends Service Committee. Still, it’s not regulated by anyone except the prison officials in America. Solitary confinement leads to high re-incarceration rates and high rates of homelessness and suicide, according to Pyschology Today. During COVID, Louisiana state prisons have only reduced their population by 10%, according to The Advocate. They also halted inprison visitation for the whole first year of the pandemic. Mass imprisonment is deeply rooted in our society. However, the incarceration rate can be reduced by making changes to remove mandatory minimums that require courts to issue long sentences for certain crimes. And the district attorneys should stop charging people for low-level offenses. The government should invest in communities and services instead of jails and prisons to make communities safer, healthier, and more resilient. Our government focuses on the wrong things. We need to invest money into helping people not become criminals, instead of keeping them locked up over one mistake.