The United States Criminal Justice System is a fundamental part of society that focuses on protecting its citizens

The United States Criminal Justice System is a fundamental part of society that focuses on protecting its citizens. For many decades, the criminal justice system has endured many issues and problems that are currently questioning exactly how fair the United States Criminal Justice system is to citizens and how effective it is at protecting its citizens. In present day, the criminal justice system faces contemporary issues as well as trends that not only affect today but many years and generations to come.
One major flaw of the criminal justice system is mandatory minimum sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentencing demands a category of financial capability that the United States does not possess. This form of sentencing began in the 1970s and its main purpose was to try to get rid of the drug lords and eliminate most of the nation’s street drug selling. It was to impose that the same crime would have the same sentence all over the nation. Some of the negatives that rose from mandatory sentencing were nonviolent drug offenders and first time offenders who were receiving harsh sentences. Inmate populations and correction costs increased and pushed states to build more prisons.¬†With the state of our national economy, cutting prison and corrections costs would be a huge savings. On the surface, it may seem that mandatory minimum sentences would serve the traditional goals of punishment. They would discourage potential criminals, keep society safe for longer periods of time, punish the offender and rehabilitate the offender. What they did not do, however, is take into account the individual circumstances of each case and each defendant which in turn leads to a large amount of individuals being funneled into the criminal justice system and prison system. The lack of financial capability can be evaluated through the overcrowding of prisons which is quickly becoming a major financial and controversial problem in the United States. Currently, there are now more than two-thirds of a million people in our country in jail or in prison, and soon there will be half a million in prison alone. Since 1980, the prison population has grown by about 800 percent while the country’s population has increased by only a third.
State and Federal prison overcrowding has continued to hurt United States correctional facilities because of increasing inmate population and the demand for lower corrections costs. These two factors have resulted in a growing shortage of living space for prisoners. Many correctional facilities are operating under hazardous conditions, which include operating past the maximum capacity due to a lack of funding for expansion.
Mandatory minimum sentencing, along with its effects, is a serious problem and there are strategies in the works of being implemented as a means of attempting to control this dilemma. The government has to come up with new ways to punish the guilty, and still manage to keep American citizens satisfied that our prison system is still effective and focused on protecting its citizens because it is citizens’ tax dollars that is being used to support a failing prison system.

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