Why poor people tend to be incarcerated more than upper and middleclass people
Furthermore, apart from racism, social class has been used as a tool to measure the effectiveness of the social institution, the penal and the criminal system in society. Correctional scholars and commentators indicate that re-incarceration and recidivism are increasing as result of poor training, lack of education and finance which should be partially if not fully contributed by the prisons system. Therefore, this paper will provide a succinct analysis on how the prison systems have been developed to encourage recidivism and re-incarceration by failing to offer the prisoners beneficial skills more specifically from the U. S perspectives but with the inclusion of another jurisdiction such as the U. K. Such an act is against people who are unable to secure housing facility.
However, criminalization is now rampant and indirectly referred to poverty criminalization by viewing it as a civil disorder or a criminal offense. McCulloch & Cooper (2017) indicates that in England and Wales, criminalization of the homeless (which can be equated to being poor) has been widespread to the extent of denying some of the homeless people their rights to vote. Similarly, individuals without land or any property have their rights such as freedom of movement infringed by the government. However, in cases where such rights are extended to the poor people, the government criminal justice agencies have implemented strict surveillance as way of controlling the poor (McCulloch & Cooper, 2017). Short (1971) the holding of the Supreme Court was that the substitution of an individual’s unpaid fines with jail terms was an infringement of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Supreme Court has pointed out in several instances that individuals who are in position to pay their fines and fees but fails to do so as result of ignorance should be incarcerated (Patel & Phillip, 2012). The imposition of high fines and fees is one of the ways through which the criminal justice system openly criminalizes poverty by offering sentences to individuals based on their economic status (Criminal Justice Policy Program) (DOES THIS NEED A REFERENCE OR YEAR? NO. THIS IS THE TITLE OF THE PROGRAM RUN BY HARVARD LAW SCHOOL-THE AUTHOR IN THIS CASE. Most of the minor offenses usually attract fines or court fees which might be cheap to settle for the upper and middle-class individuals as they are in a better financial place (Patel & Phillip, 2012).
It is impossible for a person who cannot afford proper housing to raise and fine of £5,000 thus the most probable place that such person will end up is in prison. In Bearden v. Georgia (1983), the Supreme Court in the United States held that the imprisonment of individual duals who could not afford to pay their criminal cases restitution or debts was unconstitutional. Dolan & Carr, (2015) highlighted that in 1833 there was a prison tradition for anyone who failed to pay their debts. Currently this trend has crawled back into the American prison and the criminal justice system. 7 million people in the U. S were unsuitable for any kind of employment as a result of possessing criminal records (Dolan & Carr, 2015). In 2012, 95% of the total jail population in the U.
S had similar release period. This is a great challenge for the poor ex-convicts since the societal reentry is considered very daunting. Bias in the criminal justice system (I WILL REMOVE LATER) Jankovic (1978), mentions that there is a reported socioeconomic and racial biasedness within the criminal justice. The criminal justice system is coined to operate against individuals from the poor background (Bagaric, 2015). Furthermore, the reason behind mass incarceration of the poor, opposed to the middle and upper class in the society, is based on the fact that incarceration is beyond the control of the poor or the criminal justice (Bagaric, 2015). The wealthy individuals in society are likely to influence the criminal justice system thus some conclusive indications that the criminal justice system favors the wealthy and the poor survive under the mercy of the criminal justice system (Bagaric, 2015).
In most cases, individuals from the poor background and the minority group are considered powerless which turns them to become the apparatus of states’ social control. One, the lowest social class in the society is subjected to harsher punishment when found guilty compared to individuals in the middle and upper class. Secondly, in case of sanctions, the most severe ones are directed towards the lowest social class people in the society. According to Cavadino et al. , (2007), biasedness is observed in the criminal process such that offenders in the middle class are treated more leniently than those from the lower class. Therefore, it is doubtless that the criminal justice system is coined to punish the poor that their counterparts in the middle and upper class.
One, the criminalization of the status (poverty) in which this class of individuals is considered criminals. Secondly, the society including the criminal justice system fails to provide a mechanism for promoting peaceful reentry of the ex-convicts in the society. As result of the failure of societal support of the ex-convicts, the pressure to meet their daily needs such as housing and childcare among others forces the ex-convicts to indulge in other destructive conducts that led to re-incarceration. Additionally, there is evidence pointing to the status biasedness within the criminal justice system where the rich continue to gain more wealth while the poor are confined in the prisons. The imposition of high court fines and fees is another strategy introduced to promote further incarceration or re-incarceration of the poor people.
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