Isaac P. Colorado

Our Flawed Prison System

Our prisons are set up to help people. But, the way our prisons are set up, they don't actually help many convicts.

Dear Madame/Mr. President:

For many years prisons have been our main form of punishment for criminals. Prisons are supposed to teach criminals a lesson for committing a crime, but ours simply just punish. When people are locked away from the world for years being served food and a free place to live, the prison turns to a better place than outside. The real world requires hard work and a good job, which is not easy to get when you have a record and haven’t had to really work for years. There needs to be a better way of treating criminals so that they’re ready for the real world when they get out. An even larger problem with U.S. prisons is that prison is one of the only sentences that courts hand out to people. Our prisons are extremely over crowded, and with more than just violent criminals. Many people in jails and prisons are non-violent and in on drug charges. Giving junkies a bed and food every day doesn’t do them any good when they get out.

Repeat offenders were often left with no other choice but the life of crime. If a man is sent to jail when his brain is still developing, then the brain will develop to survive in that prison environment. When they’re released it’s hard to adjust back to the normal world. It’s a lot harder than prison. We give inmates three meals a day and a warm room with a decent bed to sleep in every night. Many prisoners eat better and healthier than a lot of the poor people in lower-class neighborhoods. So when they get out of prison they need a job, which is extremely hard to do considering that person has been locked away from having a boss and steady job for the entirety of their sentence. Also, many owners don’t want to hire someone who has been to prison because they’re simply just usually not the best workers. This is a problem that can be fixed by teaching criminals in prison to work for what they get and help them change from a life of crime to one of a working citizen.

Prisons in the United States are continuing to grow in population, and not only with violent or bad people. Many prisons are filled with petty thieves and drug users. For a drug user prison can be a sanctuary because it provides clothes, food, a bed, and an indoor toilet. These items may not be as accessible to addicts on the outside due to their spending on drugs. Others may argue that prison can rehabilitate these drug users, but the sad reality is that drugs still get into prison. Smugglers will always find a way to get their product in. Especially to prison where they know drug users are and in need of their high. Prisons actually create more profit for dealers because addicts will pay a lot more in prison to get drugs due to them being harder to find.

Sending everyone to prison is obviously not the answer to all crimes. Instead of prison, send convicts to a place where they have to be a responsible citizen. Teach them to get and maintain a good job, and try to change their mindset of the crime lifestyle. If the government helps its citizens that grew up with a hatred for authority, then the people might trust the system again because the system would finally be working in their favor.


Isaac P.