The article, Prisoners without Prisons by Stephanos Bibas scrutinizes the rate of incarceration in the United States. The rates are high, and they are believed to be caused by drug control measures and racism. This is through the thoughts of lawyer Michelle Alexander and President Barack Obama. They believe that nonviolent drug criminals are sentenced based on their race leading to high numbers of prisoners. However, Bibas deconstructs this view by claiming that someones race and economic status cannot affect their criminal behavior and conviction. (Bibas N.p) To lower the incarceration rates, he suggests that prisoners should be provided with jobs, be given religious guidance, be freed early and get monitored, and their punishments should be done instantly, be foreseeable, and for a short-term.
To lower the incarceration rates, Bibas suggests that prisoners should be given jobs. This should come in the form of their punishments. The Depression-era Protective laws which ban goods made in prison should be revoked. The laws do not allow for the goods to feature in the regional commerce. Also, it recommends that prisoners get paid the prevailing wage rates. Therefore, the prison industries end up being unprofitable as the prisoners remain idle. The prisoners should finish their education and work. Training should be done for them concerning good marketable skills and work habits. Moreover, an experiment should be done to have the healthy inmates to enroll in the military. Their wages can then be given to their families for support, cover the incarceration costs, and be used to compensate victims. These working programs ensure that the prisoners can be successful in the outside world after their release. This is despite many people believing that they would be enslaved and get paid low wages in the prisons. Consequently, the incarceration rates would decrease because the prisoners will have work after their release, and involving in crime will not be an option for them.
Moreover, to lower the incarceration rates, Bibas suggests that prisoners should be given religious guidance. He recommends that instead of only providing bus tickets and twenty dollars for prisoners after their release, they should be handed over to religious communities. Programs such as Prison Fellowship Ministries can be encouraged to change the prison cell from areas of violence and idleness to places of repentance, prayer, work, and education. After their release, the religious groups can carry out the rehabilitation of their communities, prayers, and fellowship. Similarly, through religion, the inmates are required to become responsible, promise to change their ways, and have mentors to assist them to remain true to their promises. This will help them to have the alternative to abide by the law, and not to return to lives of crime. With this, the incarceration rates will reduce because the chances of one going back to criminal life reduce when they are versed with religion.
Additionally, according to Bibas, to reduce the rates of incarceration, the inmates should be freed early and get monitored. The criminals can then be tested for alcohol and drugs, be fitted with webcams and electronic bracelets through GPS. Additionally, they can live in apartments rented by the government and serve the public by helping in community work. To be effective, stringent curfews can be applied, location limits are indicated, and the use of alcohol and drugs be banned. Also, noncompliance should be followed by swift penalties. This chance can only be granted according to an inmates behavior in jail, their history of crime, and the approval of previous parole officers. Hence, the levels of incarceration will lower as most of the criminals will not stay in the prisons.
Finally, the incarceration rates can be lowered as suggested by Bibas through carrying out instant punishments for the wrongdoers. Long-term threats should not be given. Speedy and predictable punishments are easy to be responded to especially for typical drug users. Even in the colonial America, there were few cases of hanging, mutilation, and exiling. Most punishments occurred briefly through fine payment, being whipped, or being humiliated in the town square. Long exposure to incarceration makes the nonviolent and low-level criminals to be exposed to violent crimes upon their release. Substitute punishing strategies like community service and drug treatment can be used to solve the incarceration problems.
In conclusion, the rates of incarceration can be lowered through the suggestions of Bibas including giving the criminals jobs, guiding them to be religious, freeing them early, and giving them instant punishments. Giving them jobs ensures that they have a source of income when freed. This guarantees that they will not be involved in crime. Hence, low levels of incarceration will be experienced. Moreover, the inmates should be given religious guidance to ensure they are responsible when released. Hence, incarceration rates will reduce. Furthermore, freeing them early and monitoring them is good since the prisons will be relieved making the incarceration rates to be low. Lastly, to lower incarceration, the wrongdoers should be punished instantly to avoid holding them in prisons.
Bibas, Stephanos. "The Truth About Mass Incarceration". National Review. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
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