Annotated Bibliography

Michael Johnson


English 102

Mullen 14

Annotated Bibliography Essay 2

My paper is meant to go over reform for the Criminal Justice and Prison System in America. In the 1980’s and 90’s America went through a “tough of crime” wave, where locking people who committed any sort of crime was one of the main platforms and topics that surrounded Presidents and leaders in America.  However, while being “tough on crime” we were also tough on criminals. Instead of focusing on trying to stop crime at the root of the problem, we focused only on locking people up who broke the law. This resulted in many people being sent to prison for, what many see today as unjust imprisonment for many times non-violent crimes.  Prison populations and spending on prisons skyrocketed in the 80’s and 90’s. Today, the United States is home to about 5% of the world’s population, yet the United States is also home to 25% of the world’s criminal population. That means that 1 out of 4 people in the world who are in jail cell, reside in the United States. Many people believe that the American Criminal Justice system is far too big and expensive. People like President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders have spoken out about prison reform. It’s time for a change in America. It’s time for the people of the land of the free and the home of the brave to realize that locking people up may not be the best idea. Everyone, from the guy farming potatoes in Idaho, to the person in the Everglades chasing ‘gators, all the way to the fat cats on Capitol Hill, needs to realize that the Criminal Justice and Prison Systems in America need reform and need it now.

“Correctional Institutions.”, 30 Jan. 2015. Web.

The data set I used is about correctional institutions in Oregon. The data in this data set covers everything from the number of institutions in Oregon, location of the institutions, and what type of correctional institution each place is. There are a few things that stand out in this data set. One thing that stands out is how many correctional institutions there are, 136 of them. Now while not all of them are high security prisons, it is somewhat shocking that in a state with not a huge population, there are that many correctional institutions. Another thing that stands it is there are many facilities that are labeled as “Boys’ and Girls’ Residential Facilities”. This would lead one to believe that Oregon has a problem with juveniles. The last thing that stands out is that they included the longitude and latitude of each facility.

“Correctional Institutions.”, 30 Jan. 2015. Web.

The graph I created from the data set about corrections facilities in Oregon measures how many cities/towns in Oregon have how many corrections facilities.  Naturally, cities and towns with higher populations have more correctional institutions. Portland, Eugene, Salem have by far the most. Most of the other town’s correctional institutions are usually police departments that have a holding facility, or a town in the middle of nowhere that have an actual prison. One thing that can be extrapolated from this graph, is that it shows in a way how the “tough on crime” policies in the 80’s and 90’s effected the nation. Do we need so many correctional institutions in a state with one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation?

Coyle, Andrew. “Prison Reform Efforts around the World: The Role of Prison Administrators.” Diss. King’s College, U of London, 2004. Abstract. Pace Law Review (2004): n. pag. Print.


Andrew Coyle PhD worked as a prison warden in prisons in England and Scotland for twenty-five years and is now the Director of the International Centre for Prison Studies in the King’s College of the University of London. He divides countries, in regards to their prisons into 5 groups. The first being developing countries who prefer to having people working than in prison. The 2nd, countries with very violent, prisoner run prisons. 3rd group being countries who are working to reform their prisons. The 4th group are countries who only people extremely dangerous people in prison. And the 5th and final group, are countries who appear to like putting people in prison. This group is just the United States. His main point on reform is that A) the people who work in prisons need better training and better pay. And B) we (the United States) need to look at prisons and imprisoning people, not from a lawful perspective, but at humanitarian perspective.


Dlugash, Mark. “”Nudging” Prisons: New Hope for Real Prison Reform.” Kennedy School                                                   Review. John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2013. Web.

In the article “Nudging” Prisons: New Hope for Real Prison Reform, author Mark Dlugash goes over the history of prisons, the involvement of politics and prison reform, and the idea of “Nudging”. He says that, ”  Prior to the late nineteenth century, prisons were meant to hold prisoners until their “real” punishment, which was usually physically painful (e.g., public whipping) and could include public humiliation.” (51) which is a stark contrast to what prisons are today. Today, prisons are the punishment. A shocking figure that Dlugash pointed out is,  “Today, the United States holds nearly a quarter of the world’s prison population.” (52) a figure achieved thanks to politicians mostly.  Thanks to the 1980’s and 90’s “tough of crime” attitude, more people were locked up and are locked up, for many times non-violent offenses. Another reason he points out, is “Politicians who seem “soft” on crime risk being voted out of office.” (52) so it’s almost impossible to get reform through major political arenas. Dlugash goes on to point out the things that they have done in Singapore to reduce recidivism. Things like “a humane and trusting process, educating both prisoners and the public, developing effective aftercare programs, and carefully monitoring and prioritizing key metrics for life success.” (53).  Singapore dropped their recidivism rate from 44% to 27% in 10 years. That is a goal that Dlugash believes America can achieve via “nudging”. He describes “nudging” as, “any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.” (54). He uses examples like “instead of asking the state to provide drug treatment to all addicted prisoners, prisons can post the phone numbers for free drug treatment programs (run by outside nonprofits) on prison bulletin boards and give prisoners access to phones that would let them take advantage of them.” (54).

Letman, Sloan T., IV. “CORRECTING CORRECTIONS: A JUST RESPONSE TO THE AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.” Journal of Global Intelligence & Policy(2013): n. pag. Web.

One of the points made in this paper is about how the war on drugs and laws from the past 30-40 years “have a subconscious suggestion of class and race.” (41).  The author goes on to say that instead of addressing the real problems of crime and drug addiction, politicians and the media have created a scapegoat that is blaming crime on minorities, immigrants, and the poor. (43) Later, the author goes on to describe that by harshly imprisoning all these people, a generation has grown up with only 1 parent in the house. Also, that since the laws were written by the rich, aimed at the poor, and that minorities are more likely to make up the poor inner city, that many of these single parent families are black or Latino.  Not only does the author blame the people who wrote these laws, he also puts responsibility on the church, “The African American Church in particular has become atrophied, apathetic, ignorant, and incompetent to the needs of its community. Since the victories of the Civil Rights movement the black church’s will for social justice has atrophied.” (46) Lastly, the author talks about his plan, similar to the work of MLK, to help relieve the unjust aim of the criminal justice system and help the poor and minorities to be more educated.

Mass Incarcerations in the US. Vlogbrothers, 4 Apr. 2014. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.

The video points out the many flaws in the US prison system. One of the things it points out is that we need focus more on the corrections and less on punishment, because we want prisoners when they come out of prison to have the criminal behavior corrected. We don’t want people coming out of prisoners with a vendetta against a society that they feel has punished them. Another thing that the video points out is that the United States has the highest incarceration rates in the world. 2nd and 3rd are North Korea and Russia. Neither of those countries would be considered role models. Something that is shocking is that, “Solitary confinement is considered to be torture according to international law, yet most prisons have a solitary confinement section of the prison.”  We as a society make it very difficult for someone to be an ex-felon. As a group, ex-felons have very high recidivism, homelessness, and suicide rates. Not to mention that the United States spends around 75 billion dollars every year on prisons and prisoners.


United States of America. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Multistate Criminal History Patterns Of Prisoners Released In 30 States. By Matthew R. Durose, Howard N. Snyder, and Alexia D. Cooper. N.p., 24 Sept. 2015. Web.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported on recidivism in the U.S. Recidivism in the United States is a big problem. Recidivism is when people are released from prison and then commit another crime and go back to jail. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), ” When examining recidivism rates within the state of release only, an estimated 41% of prisoners were arrested within 1 year following release. Within 5 years of their release, 77% of the released prisoners were arrested either within or outside the state of release.” (1.)  Also according to the article, men have a higher recidivism rate than women, “Within 1 year of release in 2005, 3% of males and 2% of females had an out-of-state arrest. Five years after release, 11% of males and 9% of females had an out-of-state arrest.” (2.)  No surprise that prison can also turn someone violent, “Within 5 years of release in 2005, 29% of prisoners were arrested for a violent offense either within or outside the state of release” (3.)  One of the last things that the BJS pointed out in the article is that prisoners who were released from prison under community supervision were more likely to return to prison than people who were released on parole or probation.

United States of America. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Percent of prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 who were following release within or outside the state of release. By Matthew R. Durose, Howard N. Snyder, and Alexia D. Cooper. N.p., 24 Sept. 2015. Web.

This graph, made by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, was made to show who was arrested after being released from prison. It is a line graph that has 4 lines. The first line is for people who were arrested for a violent crime in the state that they were previously released from. The next line is the same as the previous but is based includes people who were arrested for violent crimes in any state after being released from prison. The third line is for people who were arrested for any type of crime in the state that they were released from. The last line is the same as the previous line, but includes people who were arrested in any state after being released from prison. A couple things stick out on this graph. One thing being that the line for all arrests is barely higher than in-state arrests, leading one to believe that most people commit crimes in the same state that they were released from prison for. The other thing, and the more shocking observation, is that after 60 months, almost 80% of all prisoners who were tracked for this study, committed and were arrested for a new crime. That is a shocking recidivism rate.


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