Prisons : The New Black Essay

1093 Words Dec 2nd, 2014 5 Pages
A prison, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is “A building to which people are legally committed as a punishment for a crime.” This definition emphasises the stereotypical role prisons, a place where “bad” people go to get punished, furthermore this definition implies that simply going to prison is the extent of the punishment, and thus also implying that it is simply a place to keep criminals of the streets. Now some people argue that prisons should be places of reform, havens where prisoners can reflect on what they have done and how they can return to be valuable members of society. And it is perhaps because the prison system tries to accomplish all these things simultaneously, that it is such a spectacular monument failure. Prisons run on two principles, power and fear. The abuse of these two, as witnessed by Piper Kerman in her memoir ‘Orange Is the New Black’ shows the extent of inefficiency in prison system. Prisons are supposed to punish those who deserve it, keep the dangerous locked away, and help those who can be redeemed, but instead all three goals have become a convoluted, muddled omnishambles. The effects of this, seen through Kerman’s eyes and words show us all how the ineffectual prison system adversely affects the society which she returns too.

The Oxford dictionary says prisons should be punitive institutions, and so it hardly surprising that prison systems in the US is terribly efficient at this. A side note on terminology, being called a punitive…

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