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Please summarize the article "When They Get Out: How prisons, established to fight...

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esther77 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:23 PM via web

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Please summarize the article "When They Get Out: How prisons, established to fight crime,produce crime."  It is from The Atlantic, June 1999.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:48 PM (Answer #1)

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This is a long article and can only be briefly summarized in the space available here.  You can read the full text of the article at this link.

The first basic thrust of the article can easily be understood from its title.  It makes the claim that America’s prisons are counterproductive.  It argues that the prisons do nothing to help the people who are incarcerated there.  Instead, they cause the people to be so angry and to have so few options when they get out that they (the released prisoners) are more likely than ever to commit further crimes. 

The article goes on to discuss its second main point, which is that the mass incarceration of American men has deep impacts on the society as a whole.  The men who come out of prison, it says, are rarely able to do much of anything with their lives.  The article says that these are people

who either never acquired job skills or lost their skills in prison, and who will face employers' suspicion…

By incarcerating so many people and by then letting them out without any way to reintegrate themselves into society, the article says, we are harming our society in general, and certain areas in particular.  Areas from which many prisoners come, it says, are likely to be badly hurt economically and politically. 

Thus, the article argues that we are putting too many people in prison and that our prisons do not help them to prepare for life after release.  This ends up harming our society.

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