Friday, February 29, 2008

Prison Population in the US - Why So High?

Today the AP reported that more than 1 out of every 100 adults in America are in prison here, a higher rate than any other country. Why?

I don't know, but I can't help but wonder if, even though lots of people end up in prison, somehow going to prison is simply seen as not being a credible threat. How can I possibly suggest this?

Simple, in order for prison to be a credible threat, the offender has to have a reasonable expectation of being 1) identified, 2) caught, 3) prosecuted, 4) convicted, and 5) incarcerated. I just think that for a great many people, the entire sequence just doesn't look likely.

Actually, I suspect the problem starts even sooner. I suspect that for so many young people, those who do not have proper supervision, role models, and boundaries, they simply do not learn the lesson that bad behavior has bad consequences. From there they start out small and evolve into something serious.

In orther words, I'm suggesting that the problem is due to the break down of the nuclear family. So, sorry Hillary, but I don't believe "It Takes a Village", I believe it takes parents.

Clarification: That last line reads not quite like I intended it. It looks like I meant it takes two parents. That's not what I meant. What I meant was a parent or parents that care(s) enough to ensure their child understands right from wrong, the consquences of misbehavior, and personal responsibilty.

1 comment:

K T Cat said...

Two parents is probably an acceptable generalization given the incontrovertible statistical proof of correlation between parental marital status and incarceration rates.