We pride ourselves for living in the greatest country in human history, a country founded
on the ideals of democracy, human rights, personal freedom, the rule of law, and most
important, equal justice for all, ideals that transcend political, religious, racial & ethnic,
gender, societal, and cultural differences. This may explain why the United States of
America is the most desirable immigration destination in the world. Sadly, evidence shows
that we are far from being the ideal nation the founders had envisioned, particularly on
issues of crime and justice. To begin with, we have consistently experienced the highest
rates of violent crimes among all developed nations (7 times higher and caused largely
by guns). We also punish convicted offenders most harshly by keeping them in prisons
for the longest time (chronic offender statutes, three-strikes laws, mandatory minimum
laws, enhancement penalties, etc.), While we account for only 5% of the population in the
world, we lock up 25% (2.3 million, a large % of whom for drug- related offenses – 75%
in federal prisons & 25% in state prisons) of its prisoners for an average cost of $30,000
per prisoner per year (in California, the cost to house an inmate, as a result of AB109,
has risen from $50,000 to $80,000 per year). Among the incarcerated offenders, people
of color make up the majority with 33% being African-American & 23% being Hispanic.
Still, we spend the most amount (>$300 billion) on federal, state, & local police,
prosecution, and corrections annually. Here in California, the taxpayer, in the 2019/ 2020
fiscal year, spent more money on corrections than the University of California & California
State University combined (>12 billion on the prison system vs. $8.1 billion – general fund
portion – on the two university systems). If this trend continues, the State will run out of
money to fund higher education in the foreseeable future.
A June 2021 report by the National Fraternal Order of Police reveals that violent crimes
are rising rapidly in major cities with Portland, Oregon leading the pack at a 533%
increase in homicide and 126% increase in shootings to be followed by Atlanta, Georgia
(58% increase in homicide & 40% increase in shootings) in 2021 thus far. It is no surprise
that in a March 2021 Gallop survey, 78% respondents stated they worried about crime &
violence a “great deal” or a “fair amount of time.
Please write a 1500-word (about 3 single-spaced type-written pages) essay addressing:
1. what do you believe are the root causes of America’s crime problem?
2. why has our law (criminal) failed to deter criminal conduct?
3. would you support evidence-based police or cultural practices that have proven to
be effective in controlling criminal behavior – e.g “stop & frisk” that was credited to
have cut the homicide rate by 50% and overall crime rates in New York City when
Rudy Giuliani was mayor during the 1990’s, corporal punishment for certain types
of offenders as is currently practiced in 29 nations, including Singapore, restoration
of the concept of “shame” into our national consciousness as has been done in
Japan and other Asian countries for centuries, etc.
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