The purpose of imprisoning, as I understand it is three-fold: [INDENT] 1) Remove dangerous people from the rest of society
2) Punish people who violate laws
3) Attempt to change such behavior by means of punishment
[/INDENT]I'd say, just from my layman's point of view, that only objective 1 is being met (and at that, only partially). I also noted in this information that the spike in prison population roughly correlated to the "war on drugs" which mandated prison terms for use, possession, distribution, etc. There's also the "3 strikes you're out" policy that many states have taken on that, again, mandates long prison terms for X or Y.
The suggestions posted thus far, I happen to agree with. I believe we prohibit far to many activities that aren't criminal by nature, unless they're made a crime. Even so - even if this is
the case - we still have a growing problem that's getting much worse daily.
From a philosophical standpoint, I think it high time we go back to the beginning and re-think Crime and Punishment; how much does what we do, match the intent of the system?
I still need to clarify my thoughts on this - there isn't any apparent ready-solution.