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Research on the United States "War on Prisoners"

Author: JiangWenXiu
Tutor: ZhangXu
School: Jilin University
Course: Criminal Law
Keywords: War on Prisoners the United States Prison Imprisonment High Incarceration Rate Community Correction Private Prison
CLC: DD914
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 137
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Abstract


In 1960’s, the United States crime rate rose sharply, the high recidivism rate and social security situation continued to deteriorate. In 1965, Johnson administration launched a full-scale war against crime, and then Nixon, Reagan and Bush administration also continued to conduct the war against crime. This is the United States“War on Crime”. The content of“War on Crime”is using harsh penalties, especially heavily using imprisonment to combat and deter crime. When“War on Crime”was in progress, the United States drug problem became more and more serious, drug crime became the main battlefield of“War on Crime”. The goal of“War on Drugs”is a comprehensive anti-drug policy in the United States. The main feature of the policy gradually developed into“Zero Tolerance”policy.“Zero Tolerance”policy takes the heavy use of imprisonment, and the number of prisoners has repeatedly exceeded the United States limits of tolerance. The total inmates of the United States federal prison and state prison were less than 20 million at the beginning of“War on Crime”, but the figure soared to 230 million in 2009. As a result, the United States ranks first of the world in both the number of prisoners and incarceration rate. The United States“War on Crime”and“War on Drugs”has gradually evolved into“War on Prisoners”which is used to“producing”a lot of prisoners. Excessive use of imprisonment and producing a large number of overcrowded prisoners is the character of“War on Prisoners”, and this is one of the most important events of American society in recent decades.Because of“War on Prisoners”, the United States criminal justice agencies expanded. In 1965, law enforcement system of criminal justice only had 60 million employees, but in 1993 increased to 200 million. In 1984, there were 30 federal prisons and 694 state prisons, but the number increased to 146 and 1,558 in 2000. However, there are more and more prisoners, and prison conditions are worse and worse. This makes prison inmates have serious illnesses, psychological problems, violence problems, idleness problems and some other adverse effects.“War on Prisoners”has brought American society more comprehensive, far-reaching effects.“War on Prisoners”caused 4.7 million people who were deprived of right to vote. If not, Al Gore would win Florida in 2000, and become the president, and American history would have been changed.“War on Prisoners”deepens American immigration issues, intensifies ethnic conflicts.“War on Prisoners”makes the cost of the United States criminal justice surging.“War on Prisoners”makes it more and more difficult to control prisoners, increases the rate of recidivism.“War on Prisoners”also makes profound transformation of American culture, people’s lifestyle, and even ways of thinking.“War on Crime”and“War on Drugs”gradually evolved to“War on Prisoners”. The reasons of“War on Prisoners”are complex, but the fundamental reason is the social contradictions in the United States. The major social contradictions are immigration problem, race problem, wealth problem, drug problem; the other social contradictions are urban issues, resource issues, environmental issues, employment issues, health care issues, etc. The problem is not just limited to this. In the same historical period, Russia and South Africa’s social contradictions are more serious than the United States. The two countries even experienced great changes in political structure and economic foundation, but their prison population and incarceration rate is not as high as the United States. This shows that incarceration rate and crime rate is not a simple correspondence. The same crime rate, people’s understanding and disposition of it is not same. Penalty theory tending to punish, strict sentencing rules and parole restrictions are significant roles in“War on Prisoners”.In order to solve the social problems which“War on Prisoners”brings us, the United States makes hard theoretical exploration, complex policy changing, long-term legal practice. In the long legal practice, the United States not only has temporary expedient, that is revival of private prisons to solve overcrowding in public prisons, but also has long-term fundamental policy, that is the development of community corrections to eradicating the drawbacks of“War on Prisoners”. Probation and parole as the main content of community correction in the United States has a long history, at least can be traced back to the 19th century. In 1960’s, community correction system grew very fast, and even developed to the extent of abuse, the abuse of community correction has become the excuse of“War on Prisoners”. Later, in the twists and turns development, community correction system begins to adjust, enrich, improve constantly, and finally forms a set of mature non-custodial sentence penalty system. It plays a key role in alleviating the effects of“War on Prisoners”. Community correction plays such an important role, it is all because it represents the direction of the penalty, that is“punishments tend to be gentle and open”.The loss of the United States“War on Prisoners”is enormous, the lesson is profound. Seriously study on the United States“War on Prisoners”, we can obtain useful insights for our socialist modernization in China, especially the modernization of the legal system. It not only has a very great theoretical significance, but also has a very great practical significance. Seriously consideration on the United States development of community corrections experience and lessons has a very urgent practical significance for our community correction. We should develop modern punishment vigorously and improve the community correction system. At present, we must seriously implement the“The Notice of Carrying out Community Corrections”. According to China’s actual situation, with reference to relevant laws and regulations in Europe and America, we should draw up the draft of“Community Corrections Act”as soon as possible. We should set up all levels leadership, management, training institutions of community corrections, and establish grass-roots community corrections agency as soon as possible. National government, law enforcement agencies, community correction agencies, community groups, NGOs and volunteers should full use of our institutional strength and work together for rehabilitating offenders, reducing crime and building a harmonious society.

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CLC: > Political, legal > Legal
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