The role of prisons in our society cannot be underestimated since the amount of law breakers requires some solutions to be found. Current system of punishment is sometimes considered to be too cruel; it led to the appearance of two main opinions about sentencing. First opinion supports punishing the criminals while the other one claims it to be inhuman and suggests the possibility of reform. Thus, the aim of this paper is to critically estimate the two approaches and explain my personal opinion regarding this issue. Â Â
I am convinced that the decision about choosing punishment or reform cannot be one-sided. First, I believe that in most cases people who committed serious crimes need to be kept in prison to ensure other people’s safety. From the prospective of public safety, which is the most important issue, criminals have to be punished for the wrong choices they have made.
Moreover, reform programs offered in prisons cost the state billions of dollars and endanger our society. Criminals start blaming everything but themselves for the crimes they committed whilst I think that the main idea of the punishments is to make them realize their responsibility for the wrong actions. Reform programs quite often act opposite to preventing the rate of crimes; since the reform appeared as an option, the violence and crime levels did not drop but significantly raised.
From another prospective, criminals are also human beings and they have human rights whatever they did. So I partially support the idea that prisoners have to be offered a chance to change and be rehabilitated. The chance of developing during being sentenced would prevent them from becoming vulnerable; they might learn some skills that would help make a living when they are set free instead of relying on crime again. Furthermore, if the prisoners are released before the end of their prison term, there are many restrictions imposed on them, so their actions will still be controlled.
I believe that each approach can be used in different situations. Punishment is the only solution to serial murderers where the possibility of an accident is excluded, but in other cases reform should be possible. However, I think that state funding of reform programs has to be decreased, because people should not forget that punishment has to remain punishment which is not desirable; otherwise, the levels of crime will never decrease.
Overall, in order to change the current system of sentencing in the USA, I would suggest thinking more about preventing people from getting into jails rather than thinking about the ways of releasing them. Criminal justice all over the USA should be less strict to the offenders, who were not involved into violent crimes (such as non-violent drug offenders, etc., who would normally be put in prisons). They should be punished by non-prison methods. It would improve the system and decrease the amount of money the government spends on supporting criminals in prisons and the reform methods every year.