The Effects of Mass Incarceration

Good deeds often attract good rewards while bad deeds attract bad rewards. While people are always encouraged to do good, there is a group of the population that chooses to engage in bad behaviors. The law defines the punishment that awaits those who choose to engage in bad or wrong activities and one of them is incarceration. Incarceration also known as imprisonments refers to the state or confining someone in a prison or jail. Mass incarceration just as the name suggests refers to an increased rate in the number of people confined in prisons or jails. Most of these people are said to be young from disadvantaged backgrounds and from the African American community (Johnson, 2011).. The primary aim of incarceration is to ensure that the wrong doers do not have the freedom to interact with other in the society. In addition, incarceration acts as a correction facility where the inmates are secluded from the society and their freedom denied. In doing so, the individuals think through their actions and the other choices they would have taken. The inmates are also taught some soft sills which they can use once they leave the correction facilities.

Incarceration has many advantages both to the inmates and the society. To begin with the correction facilities provide a sense of security to the community as they know that the bad people are locked away and thus the inmates can no longer harm them or engage in any criminal activities. It is said that one does not know the value of something until he or she loses it. The loose of freedom can cause the inmates to think through their life choices and this gives them an opportunity to change.  The correctional facilities send a warning to other wrong doers in the society that they too may end up in the facilities.

On the other hand, incarceration has its negative impacts. To begin with mass incarceration requires a lot of funding to house and feed the inmates. A lot of finances are allocated to the correctional facility to ensure that the inmates have food and shelter (Lyons, " Pettit, 2011). The funding would have been used to support other projects in the country. Moreover, the funding comes from taxes collected from law abiding citizens but it does little to benefit them. Another disadvantage of incarceration is that it results in a negative attitude towards the inmates by the society after they are released (Sykes, " Pettit, 2014). The inmates are not accepted back into the society as they are still viewed as dangerous criminals. It causes the ex-convicts to miss job opportunities as people fail to interact with them. Such occurrences cause the inmates to return to their old habits for survival. Mass incarceration causes more harm than good. The living conditions in the facilities are deplorable and the inmates are exposed to diseases and infections. At the end of the day, the convicts suffer emotional torture and this can make them worse criminals.

In conclusion, mass incarceration does more harm than good both to the inmates and to the economy of the country. It is necessary that the law be revised such that petty offenders are not placed in such facilities to reduce the number of people in prisons. This will in turn reduce the cost of maintaining such facilities. Other methods of correcting wrong or bad behavior should be adopted as opposed to locking up people in jails. The correctional option should be such that it identifies the reasons why people engage in the criminal activities and the work to rectify the root cause of the problem.




Johnson, J. (2011). Mass incarceration: A contemporary mechanism of racialization in the United States. Gonz. L. Rev., 47, 301.

Lyons, C. J., " Pettit, B. (2011). Compounded disadvantage: Race, incarceration, and wage growth. Social Problems, 58(2), 257-280.

Sykes, B. L., " Pettit, B. (2014). Mass incarceration, family complexity, and the reproduction of childhood disadvantage. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 654(1), 127-149.

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