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Word Count: 1,409
Americas prisons have been called graduate schools for crime It stands to reason Take a group of people strip them of possessions and privacy expose them to constant threats of violence overcrowd their cell-block deprive them of meaningful work and the result is an embittered underclass more intent on getting even with society than contributing to it Prisons take the nonviolent offender and make him live by violence They take the nonviolent offender and make him a hardened killer America has to wake up and realize that the current structure of our penal system is failing terribly The government has to devise new ways to punish the guilty and still manage to keep American citizens satisfied that our prison system is still effective Americans pay a great deal for prisons to fail so badly Like all big government solutions they are expensive In the course of my studies dealing with the criminal justice system I have learned that the government spends approximately eighty-thousand dollars to build one cell and 28000 per year to keep a prisoner locked up Thats about the same as the cost of sending a student to Harvard Because of overcrowding it is estimated that more than ten-billion dollars in construction is needed to create sufficient space for just the current prison population The plain truth is that the very nature of prison no matter how humane society attempts to make it produces an environment that is inevitably devastating to its residents Even if their release is delayed by longer sentences those residents inevitably return to damage the community and we are paying top dollar to make this possible Why should tax payers be forced to pay amounts to keep nonviolent criminals sitting in prison cells where they become bitter and more likely to repeat their offenses
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