rime in the United States has been declining for twenty years and in 2014

Crime in the United States has been declining for twenty years and in 2014 reached its lowest level since the 1960s. Despite this, as crime levels have declined, the cost of the criminal justice system and the nation’s incarceration levels have both dramatically increased. Regardless of whether one believes that this expansion may have contributed to reduced crime levels, the current size and cost of the system is unsustainable. The total cost of the criminal justice system – including police protection, judicial and legal costs, and incarceration – exceeds $200 billion annually. The United States now has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest prison population. As of 2012, there were more than 1.5 million Americans in state and federal prisons; the number of incarcerated individuals exceeds 2.2 million when jail populations are added to the equation. From 1980 to 2012, the jail and prison population increased roughly 344%; the federal prison population alone increased 790% (Bureau of Justice Statistics). Given all that you have learned during the course of your studies as a criminology major, your central task will be to explain how we have come to this situation and how we can begin to remedy it. For this essay, your task is as follows: 1. Identify no less than three specific factors that have contributed to the tremendous expansion of the criminal justice system over the past thirty years. In doing so, you should provide a clear argument as to how the factor you identified has contributed to the issue. The factors that you discuss can be social forces that have contributed to the situation, police policy or practice, judicial practice, or any issue pertaining to statutory law and legislation, sentencing or correctional practice. 2. Propose no less than three specific solutions or policies to reduce the size and expense of the system. These proposed solutions need not “solve” the issue, but you must make a clear argument that it will at least help to alleviate the problem. Again, these proposed policies or solutions can deal with any of the three central components of the criminal justice system – police, courts/law, or corrections. While there is not set length for this essay, it would be difficult to provide a well-reasoned and articulated essay in a single page. However, you should be able to accomplish both of the above tasks in two to three single spaced pages

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