6 Reasons why reforms should be made to the American prison system

1.A large percentage of prison inmates have a mental health problem or substance abuse problem                                                                                    

In the American prison system, 75% of inmates have a substance abuse problem, while 40% of inmates have a mental health problem. Many prisoners who require mental health care are locked up instead of being treated properly in a mental health institution. (Pryor, 2016)

2.Many prisons end up hurting the local community

Although many rural towns may be attracted to the idea of building a prison due to the perceived economic benefit, the local economy usually does not have many ties to the prison. (Pyle, 2005)

3.The rate of going back to prison is too high

Unfortunately upon release from prison, there is a high percentage of former inmates who end up back in prison. 66% of former inmates go back to prison if they are not helped. Many go back to prison due to parole violations. (Pryor, 2016)

4.There are too many inmates in the American prison system

                                               America has come to be known globally for its prison system, as we have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Additionally, around 7.2 million Americans are under some form of correctional supervision. (Vassello, 2016)

5.After being released from prison, former inmates face many challenges 

Due to the stigma associated with prison and incarceration, former inmates may have a hard time getting a new job. Job application forms often ask if the applicant has ever been to prison. In certain states, those on parole cannot vote. (Pryor, 2016)

6.Many inmates are in prison for nonviolent crimes                

In America, 58% of inmates are imprisoned for non-violent, drug related offenses. (Pyle, 2005)

by David Montes


Pryor, J. Class Lecture, 2/18/2016.

Pyle, K., & Gilmore, C. (2005). Prison Town: Paying the Price. The Real Cost of Prisons Project.

Vassello, J. Class Lecture, 2/16/2016.

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