In the United States of America, the federal and state governments should share some power, while completely controlling others. Certain responsibilities have acquired traits that can only be provided for by the federal government, such as a national defense system. To run and maintain a standing military it takes an incredible amount of resources and manpower, as well as high-levels of leadership. However, there are other areas of policy that the states should control. The process of judicial hearings and incarceration should belong solely to the state government.
The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and at least 60% of all inmates in the U. S. are affected by some degree of mental illness. The variety of prisoner issues, local due process and the need for individualized health care are all things better handled at the state level than at the federal level, where blanket policies may do more harm than good. Unlike our national defense, which is handled solely by the federal government, the responsibilities for our prison system are shared by both state and federal governments.
The federal government has the majority of the responsibilities Both national defense and the prison system have been major staples of the United States from its earliest beginnings, and will continue to be, but as times change, we must also change. The United States’ standing army is one of the the most powerful militaries in the world. We have 1. 4 million enlisted soldiers, an annual military spending budget of 581 billion dollars, and the largest stockpile of military vehicles, defense weapons, and other methods of defense in the world. The military is managed by the federal government and should stay that way.
The states could not run the military as it is right now. It is too large and requires strong leadership and a large political body to keep it functioning and a budget beyond the states.. That is not to say that if the issue of national defense were given to the states when the U. S. was forming a military that a military would not exist, but it would likely not be what it is today. The military isn’t perfect by any means. Some aspects of its management could be tweaked or altered, perhaps in regards to the inner working policies of the military and what operations the military is engaged in.
For example, many people agree that deploying troops into Iraq was a major loss to not only the American people, but also to the people of Iraq. Granted there were and are many factors that contributed to the United States entering Iraq such as the 9/11 attacks. As well the condition of it’s people who were living under the control of a brutal and unfair dictatorship that frequently subjected them to unethical and inhumane treatment and had an obsessive need for control. We may have gone for a noble cause of stopping Al-Qaeda and installing peace but in the process we made the situation much worse and have taken lives of countless civilians.
Another argument that could be used is that the states, and therefore most citizens, do not have enough say in the decision that pertains to war. We as a nation elect congressman who vote on the decision to go to war or not, if you are a citizen who opposes the war you must reach out express your views and urge them to vote no for war. For some that might not be practical depending on your personal situation and some factors come into play, such as access to phones or email, money, or someone might work to much to be able to meet with a congressman.
Instead of having to reach out we should bring the power to the people and vote as a population and congress members should formulate their decision based on that. The United States have kept its borders secure, kept citizens safe and kept the interests of the U. S. as a top priority, and that wouldn’t be possible without a standing, federally controlled military presence. But there may be value in considering how citizens can have a more direct role in deciding how we engage in foreign policy and war in the future.
Incarceration continues to be one of the biggest challenging the United States. The United States has been putting people in prison since its creation in 1776. The division of power in the justice system is complicated, with state and federal governments working together and separately, in both state and federal prisons. As of Jan. 30th, 2017 2. 2 million people are being housed in prisons around our nation. In the last 40 years we have seen a 500% percent increase in incarceration rates. As a nation, we incarcerate more people than any other country by a very significant margin.
Along with increasing how many people we put in jail, we are putting them in for a longer amounts of time. This can be attributed to programs aimed at lowering the crime rate, like the aptly-named “War on Drugs”, started as early as 1930 with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s adoption of the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. Another inner problem of the justice system is the problem of race. Black men in the United States have a much higher likelihood of being arrested for a crime than a white male who committed the same crime.
This online article states that“In 2008, young black men (ages 18-34) were at least six times more likely to be incarcerated than young white men. ” (Scommegna, T. T. (n. d. ). U. S. Has World’s Highest Incarceration Rate. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://www. prb. org/Publications/Articles/2012/usincarceration. aspx). One in nine people in prison is serving a life sentence, and will die in prison. Life in prison is inhospitable at best. Food is poor, solitary confinement rates are high and time out of cells for regular inmates is minimal.
The U. S. is also the only country to put prisoners in solitary confinement for any amount of time. Solitary Confinement has been proven as a form of torture and has huge psychological effects on the brain. One article states that, “Prolonged solitary confinement causes prisoners significant mental harm and places them at grave risk of even more devastating future psychological harm and at times, these harms were found to be permanent or persist even after one was released from solitary. ” (Torture: The Use of Solitary Confinement in U. S. Prisons. (n. d. ).
Retrieved January 30, 2017, from https://ccrjustice. org/home/get-involved/toolsresources/fact-sheets-and-faqs/torture-use-solitaryconfinement-us-prisons”) The United States is also the only country to give life sentences to children as young as 13. This is a gross mistreatment of human rights. Granted some people deserve a life in prison, cases involving murder and other such horrendous crimes. Though there are thousands of people all across the the united states for non violent crimes and significantly more for non-violent drug charges that have been sentenced to life in prison.
Even in cases where time is served for a felony, life is very difficult for newly-released prisoners. , Jobs are nearly impossible to obtain, you cannot apply for student or cash loans, food stamps, or public housing and many former convicts end up homeless or back into the prison system. The federal government should drop their power over incarceration and let the individual states take care of all aspects of incarceration. Almost every state already has a functioning8 prison within its borders and the necessary management to keep them running.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has been in charge of managing all 122 federal prisons and institutions since the 1930s. They’re responsible for our federal prison system today and it has turned into a money sucking, life ruining, and dangerous part of our country. Change would do us good. The states would be able to set their own parameters for imprisonment or if they want to use imprisonment at all. If the states had the power we would easily be able to implement much more humane and constructive forms of incarceration.
We would be able to reform ex-convict treatment and set up more efficient programs to help them find reliable housing and jobs. Local populations can be well represented and vote for what they want in their state. Funding can still come from the federal government and federal agencies will still be able to easily implement felons into the rightful state system. Some states may take a much different approach from this so a baseline set of policies or certain standards that must be met. These are the adjustments that will keep the United States efficient and adaptable.
All of these policies and powers have been around since the beginning of this great nation, some are designed to keep us safe from the world and ensure our freedoms. The other was created to better society but used to oppress societies and causes more pain and destruction then it does good. Both are old and rooted deep in American history and will continue to be apart of this country, but we cannot be arrogant enough to believe we have created the perfect system. Changes must be made and we must adapt to time and the changes that it brings.