Reforming the American criminal justice system and reducing the crimes at the same time has become a defining challenge for the twenty first century. Ideally, the current justice system of mass incarceration in America is deeply brutal and unfair. It subjects many people to permanent low-class citizenship while making a mockery of America’s professed commitment to basic human rights, fair opportunities and democracy. At present, America detains, imprisons and punishes more people than any other sovereign state in the world (Alexander, 2013). Surprisingly, even bigger numbers of people who are on probation and on parole is not truly free. Notably, the individuals released from cells continue being punished even after they are released while being discriminated against legal employment, proper housing and access to education and other public benefits. While demoting people to a permanent under caste, the American justice system denies millions of people a chance to be engaged and become responsible citizens as required as displayed by Sasha Abramsky in his article, ‘Is This the End of the War on Crime?’.
Through a survey on America’s state of affairs, Sasha Abramsky’s article airs out the way the prisons in America have abandoned their rehabilitation ideal, mostly for political reasons. By revisiting the growth of private prisons, the life sentences for non-violent crimes, the prevailing conditions and the treatment of juveniles, Sasha wonders whether the vengeful impulse degrades or uplifts the American culture. Is there anything that can become of people who are isolated for decades in a violent subculture? Abramsky wonders. Abramsky also marvels on whether the country’s way of detaining is coming to an end simply because the state has budget crises hence forcing the criminal systems to release a huge number of inmates (Sasha, 2013).
Further to the releases, Sasha states that some regions have implemented treatment-focused programs including harm reduction and restorative justice programs in place of detention and imprisonment (Sasha, 2013). To him this move is timely considering that the nation has faced a number of years of the ranks of the imprisoned growing without an end. Ironically, the growing number of people imprisoned does not reduce the rate of crime. Abramsky Sasha concludes that the set punitive policies are both counterproductive and inhuman. In short, Sasha’s brilliantly researched and well-articulated article shows the dangers and consequences of a society that believes in locking up criminals and forgetting about them. Whereas most imprisoned individuals are willing to reform their lives, the current criminal justice system does not give them a chance.
In his creative non-fiction article, Sasha Abramsky provides an important audit of the consequential damage inflicted upon American values by American prisons. Clearly, the lack of compassion of the national life and the inhuman hearts of the politicians pose a gnawing threat to the future generations. From Sasha’s article, it is clear that the crisis in the state budget has opened an opportunity for the policy analysts to look for alternatives to deal with the reckless imprisonment that is important to the American criminal justice system (Sasha, 2010). Regretfully however, the focus on state budget crisis in a narrow way and the release of many inmates is an exaggeration of the fight against crime. Locking up people without setting up mechanisms to make them better will only leave a more damaged society.
In this regard, as a society and a nation, America owes itself and its community to ensure that everyone, including the reformed criminals have every opportunity to improve themselves and become better citizens who enjoy being part of a large community. Following Sasha Abramsky’s enlightenment on the prevailing condition of the justice systems in America, it is important for the social justice and civil rights activists and policy makers pay greater attention to the current crisis emanating from mass incarceration. Otherwise, detentions and brutal treatment of the prisoners will never be the end of the war on crime.
Alexander, M. (2013). A Second Chance: Charting a New Course for Re-Entry and Criminal
Justice Reform. The Leadership Conference Education Fund, 1-28.
Sasha, A. (2010). Is This The End Of The War On Crime? Nation, 291:1, 11-17.