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Ryan Lee

Professor Turner

English 114B

April 4, 2017

The Social Injustice of U.S. Criminal Institutions

For centuries, many Americans have seen criminal institutions as systems made to serve

justice to the villainous threats of society. Many people do not carry negative opinions about

prisons because they remain ignorant about the truth of the justice system. Jails are not the

heroes of society that prevents evil from spreading. In reality, the concept of jail is a social

injustice that spreads despair and evil rather than containing it. Although felons might deserve

imprisonment to pay for their crimes, they suffer from the horrors that occur daily within the

confines of an institution.

It is understandable that people who commit dangerous crimes must pay for the wrongs

they have done by serving their sentence in a prison. But is it really okay for these inmates to be

treated inhumanely like animals. Felons are not fairly treated (Deleted) and their grief is ignored

by society. In the eyes of privately owned prisons, they are seen as nothing more than money

bags, while in the eyes of correctional officers they are viewed as degraded objects. While most

inmates are guilty of committing a crime, a few of them are actually innocent civilians who have

been wrongly accused and forced to serve their sentence. For example, Kirk Bloodsworth was a

middle age man who was suspected of the raping and murdering of a nine year old girl. He was

wrongly accused and sentenced to life in prison to pay for the crimes he did not commit. He was

incarcerated for nine years, until evidence of his innocence was found. Because of the judges
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mistake, Bloodsworth was forced to spend a long period of his life miserable inside the walls of a

cell. Prisons represent a flaw in the justice system by doing more bad than good.

Many people believe that prisons are made for righteous reasons, but companies that

build jails do not care about serving justice to menaces. Corporations focus on the production of

criminal institutions for the sole purpose of generating revenue. The business plan of these

companies is to contain the highest capacity of inmates within their prison. With each new

prisoner that enters jail, the business creates more money. Due to this (Deleted), corporations

have created business models that support the spread of crime and evil, giving them partial

responsibility to the rapid increase of incarcerations since the 1970s. Ever since the prison

boom, privatized corporations such as the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA),

Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, and Cornell Corrections Incorporated have been growing

for decades and now dominate the industry. These businesses have been able to create strong

political influence within the government by arguing that governmental control of prison

institutions would create a monopoly in the criminal institution industry, allowing them to

steadily maintain and grow their businesses. Letting these private companies gain from the

crimes of others will only encourage competition within the market, eventually leading to all

prisons in America being owned by private companies. This must be stopped or else the future of

the justice system will determine criminals guilty for the profit they create rather than the crime

they have committed. In order to solve this solution, the government should pay for and own

100% of all prisons rather than giving private corporates the power to make money off of

criminals. The growth of these companies has led to the spread of misery, sentencing thousands

of individuals into years of salvation. Money really is the root of all evil.
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Society has been unaware of the horrid conditions that felons are forced to live through

every day. It is safe to say that it would be extremely displeasing for a normal person if they were

forced to reside inside a jail cell. The beds are made of metal and there are no pillows or

blankets, making sleep very discomforting. Meals are served two to three times a day depending

on the prison. Prison cuisine can be compared to a meatloaf, it has all the nutrients a person

would need clumped into one gooey paste. Unfortunately, the food doesnt sound as good and

healthy as explained. In reality, most of the meals look and taste sickening. But the food isnt the

only thing that is sickening, bathrooms and cell toilets are unsanitary and leave a horrible smell

throughout the prison all day every day. These conditions are unacceptable for living by any

normal being. When millions of inmates are forced to live in this environment, they must adapt

to get used to the horrid lifestyle.

When a felon is forced to live with hundreds of other dangerous criminals, hostility is

bound to happen. Life inside a criminal institution is very inhumane. Violence and intimidation

occurs daily, consuming inmates with fear. Once imprisoned, it is guaranteed that every criminal

will face some form of aggression and tension against them. In an article, Guy Linott, talks about

his unforgettable memories inside a prison. His cell mate, Joe, seemed to be in a sticky situation

that Linott did not know well of. In the end, Joe was murdered by a drug addict inside the prison.

His death was caused by boiling oil that the junkie had thrown in Joes face. Other hostile

situations could lead to the breaking out of a fight. For example, an inmate might intimidate

another for their food or there might be some name calling and unfriendly action between two

inmates. Sexual assault is another act of aggression that occurs commonly in jail. Prison rape

takes place on the blind corners of shower rooms where guards cannot see. This experience

brings a risk of obtaining STDs along with trauma that a prisoner will remember for the rest of
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their lives. And to make matters worse, prison rape victims are likely to be raped again based on

their appearance and the violators attraction towards the victim. But the violence can escalate

even further. There have been cases of murders that have occurred inside jails. In 1994, prisoner

Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered inside an institution by another inmate. The murderer, Christopher

Scarver, claims that he heard god tell him to kill Jeffrey. This statement proves how life inside

prison can be very dangerous and even lead a person into psychopathic behavior. These daily

conflicts should be stopped by guards and officers to lower the health risks of inmates that are

victims of the hostility. But in reality, these guards do little to provide protection for hostility

between felons.

Within the confines of a detention center, inmates are treated with no respect and with

brutality. It is understandable that prison guards must be extra cautious and apply force when

needed while working near hundreds of dangerous criminals. But sometimes, the security staff

will apply an unnecessary amount of force for a small or non-existing threat. There have been

many cases when guards have brutally beaten and even killed imprisoned felons over unharmful

confrontations. Leonard Strickland is an example of one of the many inmates who are treated

inhumanely and with brutality within the cells. Having been diagnosed with schizophrenia,

Strickland was beaten, then handcuffed and dragged across the floor unconscious while in

extreme medical distress. After a while of carelessness, one of the correctional officers finally

noticed that there was something wrong with Strickland. He died as a result of receiving a head

injury and none of the officers were charged. The group of white correctional officers have

gotten away with murder. It is clear that there is a problem with the justice system when the

guilty are allowed to avoid the capital punishment of crime. The unfair treatment of inmates
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occurs often while the criminal institutions attempt to hide the truth behind the reality of

treatment within prisons.

Racism is a problem that occurs before the crime, during the sentencing, and inside of the

criminal institution. One out of every three people that are incarcerated is black. It is no

coincidence that these African Americans make up for most of the prison population in the

United States. Before a crime occurs, there are police officers in poor urban cities that will

racially profile a black person and assume that they are guilty of a crime without having evidence

to support their claims. An instance of this has occurred with the musical artist J. Cole when his

neighbors called the police accusing the rapper of selling marijuana. In response, a SWAT team

was sent to breach and search J.Coles house without a warrant. Both the neighbors and armed

forces racially profiled the artist, automatically assuming that he was the perpetrator of a crime,

inspiring his creation of the song Neighbors. This event shows the racism and brutality that

exists not only inside the prisons, but also within the police force and society. Even some federal

figures hold racism while performing duties of their career. There are some cases when black

individuals would be heavily sentenced for committing a minor felony. Due to the fact that racist

judges do exist, some African Americans would commit crimes as petty as loitering or j

walking and be sentenced to many years of imprisonment. There are some other cases when a

black person was wrongfully accused of committing a crime they have not committed. Vanessa

Gathers was accused of robbery and assault and was sentenced to serve ten years in a cell along

with five years of parole. She was forced to plea guilty because the charges were lighter and the

chances of her convincing the mostly white jury of her innocence was slim. After being released,

she shared her story with the world about being wrongfully convicted. False imprisonment is a

crime, but because of racism the innocent are put behind bars rather than the felon. Because of
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the unequal treatment that these African Americans have received, they are forced to spend years

of their time in misery for a crime that has not endanger the lives of others or a misconduct they

have not committed.

After spending their entire sentence in a hostile environment, some felons have not

changed their criminal ways at all. After being released back into the country as a free man, a

few inmates continue to pursue their criminal habits. This has led to the reimprisonment of the

same felon, where the process of misery repeats once again. It is argued that the reason for many

reincarcerations is due to the lack of rehabilitation programs within correctional facilities. In an

article written by Michael Rothfeld, Rothfeld states that officials plan to chop $250 million a

year from rehabilitation services, more than 40% of now devotes to them and a quarter of the $1

billion it is slicing from its prison system. This statement proves that prison corporations

encourage the return of felons to their jails for the evil purpose of making more money. If prisons

had programs that rehabilitated their inmates there would be a fewer amount of incarcerations

occurring yearly. But because many prisons are owned by private corporations, rehabilitation is

discouraged among the business to bring prisoners back to their cells after their sentence to

maximize revenue.

Overall, criminal institutions are flawed systems that spread fear, despair, and misery to

many people, criminal or not. This fear continues to spread to this day, growing bigger and

bigger every year. The amount of incarcerations in the U.S. increases yearly, meaning that the

amount of jails that are made will also increase. As long as these institutions continue to exist,

misery will also continue to spread. Our country must stop the problem by giving the

government full responsibility of the development of felon holding infrastructure.


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Works Cited

Ferner, Matt. "These Panels Could Be The Best Hope For Innocent Victims Of The Criminal
Justice System." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Dec. 2016. Web. 18 Apr.
2017. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/conviction-integrity-units-overturn-
case_us_56cd4a4ae4b0ec6725e472ba>.

"Jeffrey Dahmer Murdered in Prison." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 18 Apr.
2017. <http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jeffrey-dahmer-murdered-in-prison>.

Linott, Guy. "Confessions Of A Prisoner: First Day In A New Cell." Sabotage Times. N.p., 22
Dec. 2015. Web. <http://sabotagetimes.com/life/confessions-of-a-prisoner-first-day-in-a-new-
cell>.

Mann, Brian. "Reports Of Prison Guard Brutality In New York Draw A Harsh Spotlight."NPR.
NPR, 20 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017. <http://www.npr.org/2016/10/20/498688702/reports-of-
prison-guard-brutality-in-new-york-draw-a-harsh-spotlight>.

"Private Prisons Are Back." CORRECTIONS: Prison Privatization and the Prison Boom. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017. <http://www.correctionsproject.com/corrections/pris_priv.htm>.

Rothfeld, Michael. "As Rehab Programs Are Cut, Prisons Do Less to Keep Inmates from
Returning." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2009. Web.
<http://articles.latimes.com/2009/oct/17/local/me-rehab17>.

13th. Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Howard Barish, 2016.