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In the next ten years, my belief is that the criminal justice system will be changed in several ways. Societal trends which will impact the justice system will be the continuing trend of the mentally ill being left on their own to manage their own health problems. As the shortage of psychiatric help grows ever larger, the mentally ill will have fewer resources with which to live. Many of them will end up in the justice system for petty or property crimes. The justice system is already society's holding tank for the mentally ill. Another problem which is increasing is the lack of support systems for people on the edge. The 99% vs the 1% who hold most of the wealth in this country is pushing more people into criminal acts simply to feed their families. The current trend away from "for the good of the many" toward the greed of the few also bodes an ill will in society which means the prisons become more full. The willingness to pay for prisons but not to invest in young children also bodes a crowded justice system. The bargaining down of charges simply because of space needs means that many who should be incarcerated do not really receive help to learn from mistakes but end up back on the street a little worse off than before. The next time they appear in court, the offense is usually more severe. And the safety of the physical court is also in question where judges and court personnel are at risk of being physically hurt. I think we need to make changes and soon.
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