The complete failure of America's criminal justice program / by kevin murray

America is the industry leader in so many notable categories, that such a country as this, which believes that it is the greatest nation in the world, should feel deep shame that such a high percentage of its citizens are either incarcerated or on some sort of parole or probation or monitoring.  In fact, as reports the United States prison population rate of 724 per 100,000 citizens, is substantially higher than any other western nation, nearly five times higher than England/Wales which is at a rate of just 148 per 100,000.  It would be one thing if all this incarceration and imprisonment, combined with our criminal justice system was the very basis for some sort of peaceful paradise, producing a land without civil discord and equal justice for all, but America is a country that still has crime rates that are substantially higher in virtually any crime category of meaning vs. other western nations despite its high incarceration rates.  This is demonstrative proof that the criminal justice system in America is not only broken, but is fundamentally and deeply flawed.


For whatever reason, America believes that the most appropriate way to deal with inappropriate behavior, inconvenient behavior, undesirable behavior, and actions that have been deemed to be criminal, is to incarcerate its own population at a very high rate.  This doesn't work, and is never going to work, because if this was working, we would see that by the virtue of how many that currently are locked up, and in consideration that America has locked up so many of its population for so long, that therefore the balance of this country, if incarceration was actually performing a good and valued duty, would be free of crime and conflict, which it is not. 


All of the above, means that the criminal justice system in the United States, is quite clearly, not a system that has much of anything to do with fair justice and penitence, but everything to do instead with deliberately discriminating against certain segments of society; typically those that are ill educated, impoverished, and non-white, and believing that by taking these people off of the streets, so that they are no longer visible, that therefore the societal problem that creates all of these criminals, would thereupon be resolved, but it most definitely has not been.


To change America's criminal justice system overnight, is well-nigh impossible, however, real changes could be made, if America had the courage and desire to actually do so.  The first change that should be implemented posthaste, is to eliminate once and for all, all mandatory minimum sentences in the stroke of a judicial decision, that stipulates that this is a violation of the Eight Amendment, because such is both cruel and unusual, for the supposition that each person somehow should be categorized within an unbending box, of not taking into account fully all pertinent and actionable information, and thereby predetermining that all categorized as such, are always subject to a specified minimum amount of incarceration.  The second change that could readily be implemented immediately, is the recognition that the vast majority of criminals are not violent and are not a clear and present danger to their community, and that therefore should be released via some form of electronic monitoring or similar, that allows them the opportunity to thereby continue with their employment, or schooling, and/or family duties, without undue and unnecessary mandatory interruption.


Enough time has been spent living in the amoral world of "law and order" as exercised in the United States of America.  This has not work, so that, those that believe that somehow future history will be diametrically different from the past, are condemned to see it repeated, ad nauseam; and such continued failure of its justice system in a country of the vast resources and wealth of America, is demonstrative proof that America is no beacon of liberty, but instead would be more fairly represented by having in its hands the whip of the slave master.