For decades the American corrections system has failed to provide adequate, much less successful rehabilitation to prison inmates. Paired with other factors contributing to crime, America has the unfortunate distinction of owning the world’s highest incarceration rate. Some prisons offer rehabilitation programs, many of which are very successful, but in an environment of fiscal austerity, they are often the first to be eliminated. Correctional industries are becoming more common in prisons due to their unique ability to be completely self-sufficient in requiring no government funding, as well as to provide meaningful rehabilitation that has a proven record of success. Private prisons have arisen as an alternative to relieve overcrowded public prisons. Some facilities are well managed and provide useful programs. Many private facilities, however, are purely profit-driven, and unless these facilities are held accountable to standards of financial transparency as well as meaningful rehabilitation, their numbers could grow malignantly and become nothing more than warehouses of captive labor for unscrupulous business ventures.
This paper synthesizes prevailing theories on optimal crime control, recidivism, and analyses of the determinants of drug use and offers suggestions to improve correctional efficiency through alternative means of drug prohibition punishments. It is likely that reduced crime rates, recidivism rates, inmate populations, and correctional costs without significant negative externalities could result from alterations in drug prohibition laws and enforcement policies. The decriminalization of all or most illicit drugs is suggested to be the most efficient means of controlling illicit drug use and should reduce the resources necessary for the maintenance of drug control policy.
Defendants and offenders are charged for many government services that were once free, including those that are constitutionally required. Research establishes that court costs, fees, and fines exacerbate poverty for individuals in the adult criminal justice system and their families. However, I hypothesize that there is a more direct effect of fines on recidivism and test it on the ex-prisoner cohort from Maricopa County, Arizona. While the research concludes that “Tarrif fine” does have some positive and significant effect on recidivism, I do not find conclusive evidence on the impact of fines on recidivism.