The problems that accost the efforts of fighting crime are multifaceted, with some touching on the nature of criminal justice, while others are not related to the American justice system. One of the problems that beset war on crime is overcrowding in prisons. Walmsley (2005) for instance points out that not only is America imprisoning more people than Russia is doing, but that for every 100,000 Americans, 714 are in prison also. Racial profiling is presented as a force against fair justice system. For instance, the African American makes up 13% of the US population yet it accounts for 40.7% of America’s 2.1 million convicts.
Conversely, the article also pinpoints America’s politics as being responsible for its weak criminal justice system. It is postulated that America keeps voting for politicians who embrace policies which favor prison-stuffing.
As is pointed out further, these politicians are part of policymakers who relegate themselves to linear thinking, instead of approaching issues from general to specific perspective.
Again, it is pointed out that partly, this is because law-abiding citizens naturally prefer malefactors to be in jail, yet they also make up the American majority. Because of this, candidates whose policies favor incarceration in lieu of parole are likely to win. The flipside of this is that overcrowding in the prison system proliferates crime in the same system.
Congestion in the American prison system and the ineffective state of the criminal justice system is also seen to be underpinned by socio-economic factors. Population growth in the US is shown to be concomitant with social ills such as soaring rates of violent crime, more arrests and longer sentences. Another reason is incarcerating people for crimes that do not require prison sentences, courtesy of tougher [drug] laws. This is the reason one out of every five African Americans is in jail.
Walmsley, R. (2005). World Prison Population List. London: International Center for Prison Statistics.