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Discuss street crime and imprisonment, the three-strikes law, the decline in violent crime, recidivism, bias in the death penalty, the medicalization of deviance, and the need for a more humane approach.

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All of these issues suggest that there is a need for a more humane approach to criminal justice. The term street crime refers to any criminal offense that takes place in public. A person’s criminal background determines the weight of their punishment. For instance, the three-strikes rule increases the prison sentence of a felony for people who have previously been convicted of two or more felonies. This law is widely debated because it has caused more cases to go to time-consuming and expensive trials, reduced the sentencing power of judges, and had a disproportionate impact on racial minorities, who are already overrepresented in the criminal justice system.

Violent crime has fallen around forty-nine percent since the 1990s. One of the main problems facing the system now is recidivism, relapse into criminal behavior. Three out of every four people in US prisons will be arrested soon after release. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that many of those released suffer from stigmatized issues like substance abuse or addiction, have low levels of education, and lack the guidance to financially support themselves. A more humane approach to supporting those who commit crimes would help them reintegrate themselves in society and reduce recidivism rates.

Another critical criminal justice issue is bias regarding the death penalty. The penalty has long been criticized for racial bias, as people of color are more likely to be put on death row than white people. This shows how systemic racism is at work in the US criminal justice system. Similarly, the medicalization of deviance shows how social stigmas and biases play a role in criminal punishments. Medicalization refers to the way in which society views some forms of social deviance as medical problems. For example, things like homosexuality have been seen in medical terms as disorders that should be treated. This approach to deviance stigmatizes and sometimes criminalizes people for activities that oppose a socially constructed norm. A more humane approach to criminal and deviant behavior focuses on the dignity and agency of the individuals and supports them instead of hyper-criminalizing or killing them.

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