It’s socially accepted, most people break the law in a minor way, perhaps by speeding or J-walking. Unfortunately some people go to far and end up in prison. At that point society is divided, where is the line that separates us? What affects the outcome of what side of that line you are standing on? Education? Environment? Genetics? What would cause one subject to end up in prison while the other raises a family? Some researchers have concluded that it is in your genetic makeup.
From the beginning of your life it’s already decided if you will be a law respecting citizen. Though you can’t deny the importance of the environment you were raised in. A majority of people currently imprisoned is there largely because of social situations they experienced as a child. The prison situation in the United States is a growing problem. “Within five years (1986-1991) the prison percentage increased 58 percent” (Bureau of Justice statistics). Not only has the prison population increased but also the criminals now have a higher percentage of violent offences.
Between 1995-2001 property, drug and public order crimes all dropped in the percentage of sentenced state inmates. Though at the same time general prison population rose slightly due to an increase in violent offenders. With this increase in the number of violent inmates it’s inevitable that the amount of violence within prison will increase. The presence of increased violence will make it even harder to rehabilitate inmates to survive lawfully in the outside world. Prisons are so 1 overcrowded and under funded that they are decreasing sentences for inmates to free up pace.
The early release of inmates due to lack of funds results in more criminals out on the street, eventually this will be a problem for you, if not one you have already encountered. If more criminals are on the street before they are rehabilitated will cause an increase in crimes. Aspects of a person’s social upbringing will effect their reactions to situations they encounter in the future. Imagine two boys, both the same age. One is named Hot Dog King, we will call him King for short, and the other boy will go by Tom.
Both were exposed to similar situations growing up, until around the age of ten. At that point King’s father was killed by a drunken driver, as he got older he felt angry, saying life was unfair. Due to a lack of income his mother had to move from a middle class neighborhood with a good school to a Housing Project that had a school plagued with gangs, weapons, and drugs. In the new neighborhood King found older males to fill the missing role that his father left. They were usually associated with gangs or were drug dealers, regardless he didn’t know better.
His Mother grew forlorn and started drinking, eventually she started physically abusing him. King ended up running away at the age of fifteen. Within a month of being on the street he had become affiliated with a neighborhood gang. The gang that he was associated with was involved with numerous illegal activities, within four months he was sentenced to Juvenile Hall for one year. While incarcerated he bonded with other inmates and they taught him how to break into a car amongst other illegal activities. The pattern of crimes and convictions would repeat throughout life.
On the other hand a positive upbringing will enforce responsible actions throughout their life. 2 For example, Tom finished school in the same middle class neighborhood that King grew up in he then began College. As a result of being in an environment that supported Higher Education. Tom was able to make many friends that were positive influences that helped him succeed in life. The chain of negative events that effected King’s life was a direct cause for his life ending up in prison. The negative life fostered a negative lifestyle.
The percentage of Criminals raised in a negative family environment is greater when compared to a positive family up bringing. In 1993 Minnesota Legislature preformed a survey on prison inmates. The Legislatures goal was to identify family situations that characterize prison inmates primarily during adolescence in order to have data which to base public policy. The inmates results were compared to three other sample groups; adults, students in public schools, and adolescents in Juvenile correctional facilities.
One of the findings stated, “Questionnaires indicated inmates were physically and sexually abused as adolescents in substantially higher percentages then students” (web source). Another Finding goes on to explain that over half of inmates were raised in environments that were the father was absent, compared to students where only 30% of families were lacking fathers. Over half of female inmates dropped out of High School, depriving them of important career building education. The above findings substantiate that the environment you are raised in has a large impact on weather you spend time in prison.
The question of weather genetics or environment play a larger role in people ending up in prison has been a long disputed subject. In the above paragraphs are many strong examples of why your environment, especially early childhood has a huge impact 3 on the choices you make in life. Your future is not decided strictly on your genetic makeup. Everyone has choices in their lives if they feel they are heading in the wrong direction. It is unfortunate how many people are in prison just because they were not given many positive opportunities in life.