No study has calculated the cost of incarceration;
nevertheless, the cost of crime has been evaluated (McLaughlin, Pettus-Davis,
Brown, Veeh & Renn, 2016). In the USA, one in three
adults holds a criminal record. The uncontrolled rate of incarceration deprives
individuals of freedom and costs the
taxpayers large amounts of money (Abrams, 2013).
Several questions need to be
asked in order to understand what needs
to be done. Mixed methods
research, as suggested by methodologist John Creswell, will be used to attain
the objective of this study. How can the American economy be saved with those with
criminal records? Those with a criminal record, do they deserve to be reintegrated
in our community? Do they need a second, a third chance? Do we need to give
them a second, third chance? Can they be helpful to society? Based on
sociological, biological, and psychological theories, do they deserve to be
trusted? Depending on the crime committed, will it be safe to limit them to
some positions or offer them positions that they are qualified for? Will a father who failed to pay child support deserve to be
in the same boat with a father who killed his child? Isn’t it important to conduct a
thorough background check for a fair placement? Would that help our economy if
we employ them instead of letting them remain in limbo days, months, even years
after their release? Aren’t we responsible for their return to jail or prisons
due to our lack of trust?
Police officer, I witness actions that I thought I would only see in movies. According
to Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham, people do not just execute crime;
they weigh the pros and cons of the crime, and believe that they can exceed the
consequences. Therefore, they base their action on choice theory (Hall, 2012). So if they choose to commit a crime,
why does our modern theory offer them
restorative justice? The U.S. is faced with the highest incarceration rate in
the world and a criminal justice system that costs a lot to federal and state
budgets. Although incarceration is the ultimate solution for serious offenses
and effective way of protecting public safety, the impact on state
budgets as well as on offenders, families, and communities can be detrimental.
Recent awareness has been raised not only on the negative impact that
incarceration can have on prisoner reintegration but on the excessive social
and economic consequences (Orrick & Vieraitis,
paragraphs will show that there are more are to be considered…
The sociological theories:
to sociological theories, crime results from social and/or cultural forces
outside of the individual; it is somewhere on sleep mode even before any
criminal behavior is attempted or completed. Structural theorists think
that certain people are not comparable to others in their privileges to
accomplish goals valued by society such as wealth, social level, and power. Others
believe that crime is the produce of class struggles since the capitalism
system accentuates on competition, thus, crime becomes unavoidable as people
take part of it.
modern theory offers restorative justice; a system offering “programs and
practices”. Society recognizes and deals with making offenders accountable for
their actions and helps victims to cure instead of holding themselves behind. For
example, victims’ families get to face the offender(s) about the incident,
allowing offender, community, and victim to communicate and heal and most
importantly, offenders may be allowed to reintegrate society and workplace (Hall, 2012).
The biological theories
theorists believe that genetic influences, biochemical abnormalities, and
neuropsychological traits are the reasons for crime. These theories were
founded on the belief of Cesare Lombroso’s work, which stated that criminals
are born bad. According to biochemical theorists, every person is different,
and the way that our individual bodies react to influences within our own
chemistry and the environmental factors cause criminals to behave antisocially.
Other biological theorists conclude that neurological and physical anomalies
can cause people to commit crime (Hall, 2012).
The Psychological Theories
crime theories infer that crime is the result of individual personality traits
of the criminal. There are two major theories: the psychodynamic theory, and
The psychodynamic theorists think that, like Sigmund Freud’s theory, crime is
caused by people with weak egos and superegos no control over their id, with
antisocial tendencies, which will end up committing crime. Freud believed
that things that happened to us in our formative years affect people.
Cognitive theory, founded by Wilhelm Wundt, Edward Titchener, and
William James, operated on the presumption that it is our mental processes, and
how individuals comprehend, and psychologically characterize the world around
them. The humanistic view approaches theory, emphasizing self-awareness and
feelings, while the information processing school focuses on how we process,
code, gather, and employ information to make decisions (Hall, 2012).
Stuck in the middle of reintegration or/and
It is clear that sooner or
later, 95 percent of people in state prisons will come back to our communities.
Unfortunately, employers refused to employ even a potential and qualified
individual with a criminal record; about 75 percent of formerly incarcerated
individuals are still unemployed a year after their release. Research has found
that recidivism is a consequence of joblessness.
At the national level,
economists estimate that the gross national product is losing between $78 and
$87 billion dollars since society is excluding formerly incarcerated job
applicants from the workforce. Across the country, some business leaders are willing
to minimize barriers to employment. For example, corporations like Total Wine
& More, Starbucks, Home Depot, American Airlines, Koch Industries and Under
Armour are applying have hiring tricks especially for people with criminal
records. Smaller companies, including Butterball Farms, Dave’s Killer Bread,
and Haley House Bakery, have found dedicate and qualified individuals by
digging into this pool of job applicants.
Reintegration = smart move / smart business
Research by economists confirms that hiring
people with records is simply smart business. Retention rates are higher,
turnover is lower, and employees with criminal records are more committed and loyal.
By including those with criminal histories, small and large businesses can
reinforce their workforce; as a result, business will be increased, recidivism will
be decreased, incarceration costs will be reduced, biased practices will be
prevented, and public safety will be expanded.
The concept of “Fair
chance” policies for people with criminal histories need to be adopted. These
policies will promote loyalty and stability in the labor pool. In addition,
education, on all sides (employees, related job seekers, and the community in
general) need to be introduced since education plays a big role and is very
important to job readiness, employee retention, and economic mobility. The costs
of re-incarceration are killing our economy since it is greater than the costs
of correctional education. Moreover, access to training and higher education
have been proven to diminish recidivism and increase the likelihood of
employment upon release (www.aclu.org).
How about facts?
Based on a study conducted on 79
employees holding very major criminal records; 73 were still working five years
later; only one employee was fired. The U.S Military has been involved in
recruiting individuals with felony convictions, supplying waivers for
candidates who display good moral character. 33 percent of enlisted soldiers
with felony records were more likely to be promoted to higher ranks than those
with no conviction history. Evidence also concludes that individuals with
criminal records will be more motivated to perform great and to do great
because they often have fewer employment opportunities and options. Some of
them either have a family they have to take care of or dedicate to do something
positive to improve their personal and professional life (www.aclu.org).
Putting a stop on the waste of taxpayers’ money
Taxpayers are tired of the
cycles of re-incarceration with the rise of public costs for shelters and
social services. By offering former felons stable employment and, by helping
reducing re-arrests and re-incarceration maintain prison costs low; which have
been an enormous pressure on state and local budgets. A nonprofit organization
named DC Central Kitchen located in Washington, that employs formerly incarcerated
individuals, reveals that yearly its program eliminates at least $2.4 million
in incarceration costs. In Philadelphia, a study administered, concluded that
the employment of 100 more formerly incarcerated individuals would generate to
a $2 million cutback in the city’s correctional costs. In Florida, according to
a study, providing employment for individuals released from state prisons would
save the state $86 million each year in costs associated with future
recidivism. Pew Research Center has proposed that if states proceed to lower
recidivism rates by only 10 percent, they could save over $635 million every
Let’s protect our economy:
why doesn’t society go further?
Banning the Box. The campaign to “ban the
box” is the process of eliminating criminal record questions on job
application. In 2007, when Minneapolis banned the box, more than 50 percent of
job seekers with criminal convictions, whose records were formerly noted as a
“concern,” were employed in the public sector within the first year. And in
Durham, North Carolina, 96 percent of those individuals with criminal records
seeking for city jobs were proposed for employment (www.aclu.org). Business
leaders should support those who are seeking access to get an education by
persuading colleges and universities to eliminate the box on school applications.
A criminal record should not prevent a qualified and dedicated student from attending
college since post-secondary education is necessary to secure a future.
Therefore, higher levels of education facilities should allow those with
criminal histories opportunities to accede education based on the concept of fair
we going to start judging based on numbers instead of facts? Does it take only
one single time to have a criminal record? What makes you… me… different from
someone who has a record?