The United States has one of the greatest populations in the world. This is why crime is not uncommon. However, the prison system has needed to shoulder the burden that has been placed on it by the justice system. No other country places more people into the prison system than America. One percent of its population is currently in jail. This accounts for more than ten million crimes committed each year. There has to be a solution to the problem.
Behind The Numbers
Breaking down the rates of crime into various categories, it is evident that property crimes outweigh violent crime. Property crimes include auto theft or larceny. Crimes including petty theft often go unreported. Since this is the case, crime rates would be even higher.
Over one million violent crimes are committed in the United States each year. More than half are related to aggravated assault including public fighting or domestic disturbances. Another third is robberies. Rape accounts for 100,000 cases. Only one percent of violent cases includes murder. This is still a high number of people.
Punishment For Crimes
Even though the rates for crime have steadily decreased over the last few years, the prison rates have continued to climb. There is now over 1.5 million people in jail. The rate of incarceration has dramatically risen since the 1970s. Most of this is due to drugs. Having so many people in jail leads to overcrowded prison populations. It is coming to the point where there is no more room to put people who commit new crimes. One in six convicted criminals are put behind bars for drugs. One half of the prison population is incarcerated for violence. Since the numbers continue to get out of control, a better solution must be found.
Created by Boston University's Online Masters in Criminal Justice Program