According to the reading materials, in 19970, as the rising of the population of criminal because of three strikes law, the federal and state authorities had to build the new prison. (Pyle 2) They built prisons in a small towns where there was only a little things to make a living and revenue for the local and gave them a reward. The local officers expected the prisons make them living by attracting workers involving the prisons. However, in spite of their expectation, a vicious circle was started; to build the prisons, local and federal officers input capital which came from citizen’s taxes. Since the taxes went to build the prisons, there was less money to serve educational, care-giving, job-training and medical services. On the other hand, ‘the prison businesses’ did not make much revenue than they expected. Therefore, the social services got worse and people became poorer than before. That situation made more criminals.
On the other hand, another reading material, Prisoners of the War on Drugs, shows micro perspective of vicious circle; According to the reading, he people who go to jail convicted of minimal level of drug crimes. Even though it was low level of crime, they got life sentences due to the three strike law. Since then, they cannot make sufficient money to make living and raise their children. Therefore, it is relatively easy for people like them to do crime again which is easier way to make money. While the prisoners make little money or were in the prison, their children are readily exposed to environment causing crimes because of absence of caregivers. Then, the children also easily fell into the crime. The problems are never solved along the generation.
Both vicious circles are closely related. Personally, to solve those endless forming problems, it is primary thing to cut the vicious circles. Specifically, what I mean is that the federal and local government should focus on precautionary measures, not measures after the crime. Offering a drug treatment is also effective way to solve the problem, but I would like to introduce ‘the broken window theory’. This is a criminology world that explains by caring about minimal social disorder and criminal behaviors, government can prevent severe vandalism (Kelling 3). This theory was proved in New York in 1980s. By simply erasing graffiti on the wall in subway, the crime rate was rapidly decreased by half in 1990s. This describes that people think if something is not cared enough, they treat it more carelessly and this allows vandalism and more severe crime in society. In this sense, making prison worsen the problem because building prison is not the way to try to solve basic problem, but the way to solve is afterwards and make social revenue for the authorities. I think, to disconnect the vicious circles, the officers should pay attention to change the cities’ atmosphere by ranging from serving drug addiction treatment or job training to cleaning the building. In short, Citizens need to feel being cared by government.
1. Other methods to cut these vicious circles.
2. If just imprisoning prisoners worsen the social situation, then how to deal those prisoners? Is it okay to give them a mild punishment?
Pyle, Kevin and Craig Gilmore. Prison Town: Paying the Price. Northampton, MA: The Real
James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. BROKEN WINDOWS: The police and neighborhood safety. Atlantic Montly, Mar. 1982