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Should minor, non-violent crimes be punished by jailtime?

Prison crowding undermines safety, report says (Quote)

Prison crowding undermines safety, report says (Quote)

This article supports the position that non-violent prisoners should not be incarcerated. It quotes officials saying that they reported "increased use of double and triple bunking, waiting lists for education and drug treatment programs, limited meaningful work opportunities, and increased inmate-to-staff ratios"(Davidson). All of this leads to a higher chance of inmates misbehaving because they have nothing else to do. The reason for all of this overpopulation is a higher percentage of new inmates that the prison cannot keep up, and therefor the prisoner to staff ratio gets lower and lower (Davidson). I find that this source is credible because it's from a known news agency, and has actual statements from prison officials, as well as statistics from prisons about population.
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Davidson, Joe. “Prison Crowding Undermines Safety, Report Says.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Oct. 2012, www.washingtonpost.com/local/prison-crowding-undermines-safety-report-says/2012/10/15/ab77de02-16fc-11e2-a55c-39408fbe6a4b_story.html?noredirect.

washingtonpost.com
A Good Way to Ease Jail Overcrowding (Paraphrase)

A Good Way to Ease Jail Overcrowding (Paraphrase)

This article is supports the position that non-violent offenders should not be incarcerated, and offers alternatives for jail time. The alternate to jail that it offers is called the Intensive Supervision Program, or I.S.P. I.S.P is essentially a more intensive parole program. However, while parole has a pretty high percentage of slip-ups, I.S.P has close to a 95% success rate, meaning very little amount of people return to criminal activity after completing the program (NYTimes). Jail is very expensive, on average it costs around $25,000 to keep an inmate for a year, however in I.S.P it only costs $5,700-(Davidson) much less, saving tax dollars and keeping jails less crowded.
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"A Good Way to Ease Jail Overcrowding." New York Times, 7 June 1992. Global Issues In Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A174900214/GIC?u=j084910011&sid=GIC&xid=3624537d. Accessed 3 May 2018.

go.galegroup.com
Nonviolent Drug Offenders Should Not Be Taking Up Prison Beds (Quote)

Nonviolent Drug Offenders Should Not Be Taking Up Prison Beds (Quote)

This article support the idea of keeping non-violent offenders out of prison in part because "they become socialized to prison norms, where aggression is an asset and violence commonplace." (Downing) Downing goes on to argue that a peaceful person who is put in prison may come out with a violent / criminal personality because it's "the only occupation they’ve been taught in prison"(Downing). Downing makes these statements to offer an explanation as to why people often re-offend once out of prison, and argue that non-violent (drug possession/users etc.) people should be kept out of prison to stop repeating this cycle.
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Downing, Stephen. “Nonviolent Drug Offenders Should Not Be Taking Up Prison Beds.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 4 Jan. 2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downing/nonviolent-drug-offenders_b_6104256.html.

huffingtonpost.com
Bratton warns against program to release non-violent criminals early (Paraphrase)

Bratton warns against program to release non-violent criminals early (Paraphrase)

This article argues that non-violent offenders SHOULD be kept in prison. The article is partially a statement from NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. The issue he focuses on is how alot of times people aren't procecuted for their main crime due to many reasons, one could be a plea deal. Bratton goes on to warn that in taking seemingly non-violent people out of prison you're actually unknowingly putting a violent criminal back on the streets who just took a plea deal to get charged for a lesser charge. (Gartland) We can't make exceptions for who gets prison time and who doesn't, because many of the people who may seem non-violent could be otherwise.
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Gartland, Michael. “Bratton Warns against Program to Release Non-Violent Criminals Early.” New York Post, New York Post, 1 Nov. 2015, nypost.com/2015/11/01/bratton-warns-against-program-to-release-non-violent-criminals-early/.

nypost.com
Q Supporting Prison Reform Is Easy. Deciding Which Prisoners to Set Free Is a Lot Harder

Q Supporting Prison Reform Is Easy. Deciding Which Prisoners to Set Free Is a Lot Harder

This article argues that while letting non-violent offenders out of prison seems like an easy job with good implications, it's actually a lot harder than it sounds and can lead to many problems. The author writes: "Here’s the thing, though: It turns out the line between “violent offenders” and “nonviolent offenders” is a lot harder to draw than you might think."(Nayfakh) and goes on to talk about how people who weren't essentially violent criminals end up with violent felonies and get locked up. One example was gun possession, which is labeled as a violent crime, but is not violent in nature. The author then talks about how violent criminals can enter plea deals to be charged with a non-violent offense, so by letting out someone who looks harmless, you may be letting a hard criminal back out onto the streets.
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Neyfakh, Leon. “Supporting Prison Reform Is Easy. Deciding Which Prisoners to Set Free Is a Lot, Lot Harder.” Slate Magazine, Slate Magazine, 4 Mar. 2015, www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2015/03/prison_reform_releasing_only_nonviolent_offenders_won_t_get_you_very_far.html.

slate.com
The Fallacy of the Nonviolent Offender (Paraphrase)

The Fallacy of the Nonviolent Offender (Paraphrase)

This article states that the argument trying to release non-violent criminals is flawed and outright dangerous. The article says that non-violent offenders are not nice people, and lists several offenses that are classified under non-violent, which include burglary, grand theft auto, and drug trafficking to just name a few. (Griffith) With these types of arrests you also have to wonder what they were doing, that perhaps they weren't caught for. The article also provides an two examples of killers who were up until recently classified as non-violent, one of them even killed 5 people. (Griffith) While letting out non-violent offenders may seem like a great plan to reduce crime and overpopulated prisons, it puts many at risk because the seemingly non-violent criminals could have violent tendencies we don't know about.
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Griffith, David. “The Fallacy of the Nonviolent Offender.” Police Magazine, 17 Sept. 2009, www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2009/09/the-fallacy-of-the-nonviolent-offender.aspx.

policemag.com