Tithes Essay, Research Paper
Better Alternatives Other Than Control and Punishment
Society has other alternatives to decreasing crime than simply locking people in prison.
Preventative programs focus on the community, school, family, employment and places. In
addition, there are rehabilitation and restorative justice programs that can also be used to
decrease crime. Prisons are the only alternatives we hear about from politicians because of the
notion that prisons are “tough on crime.” In reality, the method that reduces crime the most is the
“toughest on crime,”–and many research studies demonstrate prisons are not the best
Over 65% of the people convicted for 3-Strikes are for drug-related offenses. There is great
evidence that putting many 3-Strikers in rehabilitation programs costs much less to society overall
than simply putting them in prison for 25 years or more. In addition, there are preventative
programs that can be used rather than the prison cell. Each $1 we spend on prisons is a $1 that we
could spend elsewhere (or not be taxed in the first place).
The problem with only addressing crime by locking people in prison is that it has done nothing to
alleviate the roots of the problems that cause crime in our society. Other people are born and
grow up in the same areas where the previous offenders lived and will probably commit the same
acts because the underlying problems still exist.
There is much evidence that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is growing in the United
States. Unfortunately, the U.S.’s response to the problem has been: “The rich get richer, and the
poor get prison.” To focus on street crime and drug-related crimes can be considered a hidden
way to set up concentration camps for the poor and minorities. There is much evidence that
white-collar corporate criminals cause much more economic wealth to be illegally distributed and
can result in many more deaths and injuries than street crime (e.g., violating safety standards in
employment, emission of environmental hazards). Does society spend as much to enforce the laws
on them? Are they sent to prison for the same sentences as the poor street criminals? Are wealthy
users of drugs ending up in our prisons?
The “control” and “punishment” models adopted by the U.S. may cause other problems. Social
rebellion and deviance among the young may increase. And, in an opposite manner, some of our
youth may embrace “control” and “punishment” as the answers to all our problems. A growing
devision among these two groups could cause extreme problems in the future.