The United States leads the world in so many areas–including the percentage of incarcerated citizens. In 2010, the United States had 2010 prisoners in the criminal justice system, an increase of 66% from the prior decade. Read these alarming statistics, as well as how the United States views corrections on journalist Maggie Messitt’s Learnist board “Prisons in America: A Primer.”
1. What is the goal of the criminal justice system in the United States? Is it to get the bad guys off the street, or to improve society so that offenders do not reoffend?
2. Why are certain groups and populations represented disproportionately? Which groups, by percentage, are most likely to be incarcerated, and why? How can the criminal justice system better serve those groups?
3. Is there a role for restorative justice in the criminal justice system? Should offenders make amends, and is letting them do so helpful to victims?
4. What are the economics behind the criminal justice system?
5. What, if any, are some of the effective programs in corrections? What helps stop the cycle of crime and abuse, truly improving communities? Consider prison gardens, writing programs, dog training programs, and other programs meant to build job skills and raise awareness of what it is to be a good citizen.
6. The death penalty has been a hotbed political issue. Should the death penalty be legal? How does it affect society? What are the economics behind the death penalty?
We will discuss these and other issues. Please discuss in the comment section.