The United States of America, with a history of military victories, economic prosperity, and the idea of freedom for all, has traditionally taken a tough stance against drug use and distribution. The war on drugs, beginning first with Nixon in 1967, then reinstated by Ronald Reagan in 1982, is responsible for the incarceration of thousands of criminals every year. Many of these criminals received harsher penalties than people who commit similar crimes in other countries. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the United States, originally developed as a deterrent, have actually increased the amount of prisoners currently housed in American facilities. Some non-violent crimes in other countries, such as possession of certain illegal substances, generally warrant a fine and probation, whereas similar crimes in America demand a prison sentence. Due the combination of the war on drugs and mandatory minimum sentencing laws, American prisons are crowded far beyond their maximum capacity. With overcrowding, inmates do not receive proper rehabilitation, and a large percentage of convicts are arrested again for new crimes within three years of their release. The result, even more prison crowding, has serious side-effects.
With a large percentage of prisons considered to be filled above their recommended capacity, and staffed with below the minimum recommended amount of guards, inmate misconduct and violence is a significant threat. The number of inmate assaults is directly related to how overcrowded a prison is. Since understaffing is also a problem, it is very difficult for guards to quell these assaults and other violations, leading to unsafe conditions. In addition to safety hazards, a high incarceration rate means that prisons will have to spend more time and capital to provide for more inmates. The cost to house just one prisoner per year is surprisingly large, and only magnified by the enormous amount of inmates held in American prisons. These costs run directly to taxpayers across the country.
Policymakers must advocate for a change to the current system. Emphasis needs to be placed on rehabilitation, rather than on excessive punishment. By removing a percentage of non-violent offenders from prisons, and placing them in probation or parole programs instead, the federal, state, and local governments can save an enormous amount of resources. In order to do this, mandatory minimum laws must be repealed and judges must have more discretion to determine the appropriate consequences for each individual offender. The saved resources can then be used to create new social programs inside of prisons to help effectively rehabilitate inmates. If inmates choose to complete these courses, they will become eligible for shorter sentences. These programs will not only reduce the chance that an emancipated offender returns to prison, but will also aid in decreasing prison populations across the nation.
The United States of America holds nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners, despite its relatively small population of under 300 million people. With over 2.3 million criminals behind bars, criminologists and legal scholars around the world are shocked by the duration of sentencing and the range of crimes that are punishable by jail time in the United States. These analysts point to “higher levels of violent crime, harsher sentencing laws, a legacy of racial turmoil, a special fervor in combating illegal drugs, the American temperament, and the lack of a social safety net” as reasons for the high percentage of the population imprisoned. The number of prisoners held in America grows every year, and the country has become the most frequent jailer by a large margin. Continue reading
This basic idea is old. It has been used in several books and movies over the last hundred years, but the philosophy is sound. The idea is to try to perform three kind acts per day. The three recipients of these kind acts must then strive to also perform at least three kind acts for three other people, therefore paying the debt forward to a third party.
If everyone took part in this simple practice, the world would be a better place. While this wouldn’t stop poverty, hunger, and wars overnight; it would help to make everyone’s day-to-day quality of living a little bit better. The long term affects of this practice could prove to be truly world changing. If kindness could become a cornerstone of society’s values around the world, maybe one day humanities problems could be solved through efficient coordination.
The Challenger Explosion:
Bus Gov Soc
November 11th, 2012
On January 28th, 1986, families across The United States of America witnessed a public tragedy which took the lives of six astronauts and a school teacher. The Challenger launch, broadcast live on television, was an important and well publicized event. Americans all over the country anxiously sat in front of the television to watch this historic moment, only to find themselves horrified as they observed this incredible tragedy in its place. The shuttle exploded seventy-three seconds after launch, taking the lives of the entire crew and sending the 3 billion dollars worth of machinery plummeting back to Earth (Kosmos Business). After careful review, engineers discovered the exact cause of the explosion and the American public demanded an explanation. President Ronald Reagan organized an independent commission to create a “Report to the President” to determine all direct and indirect causes of the events that took place on January 28th. The Rogers Commission investigated the tragedy and generated suggestions for the improvement of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) program. The commission determined that the explosion was caused by an O-ring failure, at the technical level, and miscommunication, at the management level. The resulting deaths of the seven crew members onboard are forever seared into American history as another tragic event that could have been avoided.
Since 1980, the number of inmates housed in American prisons has quadrupled to over two million people. The number of people on parole or probation has also dramatically increased during this time to nearly five million adults. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world with .743% of its population behind bars (Squidoo). This unstable situation is caused by certain US laws which contribute to an increased duration of incarceration and mandatory jail time for some non-violent offenders.
Campaign Finance Reform
Political Campaigns in America, where democracy is a highly valued necessity, have a unique place in society. During Presidential campaigns, candidates become quasi celebrities and spend hundreds of millions of dollars promoting themselves. During the month of September in 2008, Obama raised over $150,000,000 which shattered all previous fundraising records. He went on to raise over $770,000,000 total during his 2008 presidential campaign (ABC). These enormous sums of money are donated by individuals and institutions and are protected in some instances by the first Amendment of the constitution as “freedom of speech.” Which such a large amount of capital being donated and spent during political campaigns in America, the practice needs intricate rules and regulations. Continue reading
The Following is a conversation on Twitter between the Petrobas CEO and Lay and Skilling (Enron Executives) on the Enron twitter account.
PetroBros: @EnronAndGone – Opening up a new rig next month #rollininthemoney #sustainabilityischill
EnronAndGone: @PetroBros – Biggest Energy Corp in South America huh? Congrats I guess… #USA #BiggestintheWorld
PetroBros: @ EnronAndGone – Put an asterisk next to that title, all your revenue was fake… #hasbeen #suckstosuck #stillinbusiness
EnronAndGone: @PetroBros – Congrats on your new social responsibility initiatives… heard they are expensive and time consuming #MiltonFriedman #WasteofMoney
PetroBros: @EnronAndGone – #betterthanjail
Roe vs Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that essentially legalized abortions in America, has not turned out to provide all of the benefits that were originally assumed. The court found that our constitution’s implicit “right to privacy” guarantee applied to a woman’s choice to have an abortion through the due process clause of the 14th amendment. With this decision, however, the court also ruled that a woman could only decide to have an abortion while the fetus was still unable to survive outside of the mothers womb (usually 7 months or less). Unfortunately for many women in America, the option to have an abortion is not an easy process due to restrictions on public funding and insurance coverage. Continue reading
I completed the “Political Typology” (second link) quiz to gauge my political standing. I have always considered myself a moderate, because I find myself in agreement with arguments on both sides of the spectrum. I used to consider myself leaning more toward the right, but over the last few years I have felt more in line with the Democratic perspective. Upon completion of the survey, I was categorized into the “Post Modern” typology. I, “along with 13% of the public,” belong to this category which believes that Wall Street does more to help the economy than to hurt it, but also that same-sex marriage should be legalized. I agree with everyone of the arguments that this group makes, but a more important piece of information to look t is the overall survey results for each category.
Post Modernists were not nearly as affected by the recent economic crisis as others. The survey shows that just 15% of this group have not yet recovered from the economic downturn as opposed to second to last place, the “Solid Liberals” category, with 30% not yet recovered. To me, this means that most people in this category are not as focuses on personal finance related issues. Along with the fact that the survey also describes the people in this category as being the least bothered by the mortgage crisis, means that post modernists do not view big business as “evil.” This would normally mean a support for the right side of the spectrum, which historically as favored big business.
On the other hand, Post Modernists lean left on the Energy Policy issues second to last with 13% in favor of focusing on alternative energy instead of expanding oil/coal/natural gas exploration, as opposed to third to last, “main street republicans” with 26% in favor of alternative energy. Normally, right wing candidates are more in favor of natural resource exploration than left wing candidates, which implies that post modernists have a more liberal agenda in some respects.
Recently, I have considered myself Independent because it was difficult to favor one side over the other on every issue. I was surprised that this website offered an accurate viewing of my ideology and that i fit so well into a certain category.