- Mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex
In your paper,
you will apply ethical theories and perspectives to the issue that you select. You do not have to use all of the ethical theories and perspectives you have learned in this class, but you should apply at least two ethical theories and at least one ethical perspective in your paper. Make sure that you write primarily on ethical topics and concepts, aiming to be both balanced and intellectually driven in your work. To be balanced in your discussion, make sure that you clearly examine both sides of the issue you are considering, not just arguments that confirm what you already know and believe. You may share your personal views, but do not rely on opinions (yours or those offered by others) to make your case. Think about the evidence that helps to make your case and use it.
Address the following questions:
- What are the ethical issues?
- Where are there breaches of ethical behavior?
- How could each ethical theory you cite help people think about what constitutes virtuous or ethical behavior?
Click to view the
Model of the Final Paper
. Many students find that this template is helpful while completing this week’s assignment.
In your paper,
- Define how you are using key terms in the paper using credible sources (e.g., gender, sexism, racism etc.).
- Explain how the ethical theories and perspective address the social issue you have chosen to write about.
- Support your arguments with details and/or examples.
- Incorporate draft feedback from your instructor in the development of the Final Paper.
- Incorporate draft feedback from Ashford University’s Writing Center 24/7 Writing Tutoring (Links to an external site.) in the development of the Final Paper. This is optional.
- Apply ethical viewpoints to an ethical question.
- Describe the details of the theory used.
- Develop an analysis of the topic using applicable information from credible sources.
The Ethics and Current Issues final paper
- Must be at least five double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA Style (Links to an external site.) as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center’s APA Formatting for Microsoft Word (Links to an external site.)
- Must include a separate title page with the following:
Title of paper
Course name and number
- Must utilize academic voice. See the Academic Voice (Links to an external site.) resource for additional guidance.
- Must include an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Your introduction paragraph needs to end with a clear thesis statement that indicates the purpose of your paper.
For assistance on writing Introductions & Conclusions (Links to an external site.) as well as Writing a Thesis Statement (Links to an external site.), refer to the Ashford Writing Center resources.
- Must use at least five scholarly sources in addition to the course text.
The Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources (Links to an external site.) table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
You can also use the Sociology Research Guide located in the Ashford University Library.
To assist you in completing the research required for this assignment, view this Ashford University Library Quick ‘n’ Dirty (Links to an external site.) tutorial, which introduces the Ashford University Library and the research process, and provides some library search tips.
- Must document any information used from sources in APA Style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center’s APA: Citing Within Your Paper (Links to an external site.)
- Must include a separate reference page that is formatted according to APA Style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. See the APA: Formatting Your References List (Links to an external site.) resource in the Ashford Writing Center for specifications.
Mass Incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex
Instructor: Craig Allen
Mass Incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex
The United States experienced stability in the rates of imprisonment from the year 1920 to early 1970s. However, that has changed over the past four decades considering that the rates of imprisonment have multiplied. Currently, the United Sates has over 2.2 million incarcerated adults which is by far the largest population globally. The rapid increase of incarceration in the US for the past four decades has prompted various critiques including the question as to why there is a large population of incarcerated citizens.
The aim of this paper is to argue on the ethical issues existing with the mass incarceration particularly the breaches that occur minus ethics. Also the paper will discuss the constitutes of ethical behaviour within the U.S system by using Utilitarianism, Ethical Egoism, Deontology which will shed light on the concerns of mass incarceration as well as the prison industrial complex.
Incarceration is among the most applicable strategies to handle social issues which act as an interference to the poor. Generally, the problems are joined together and defined as crime. The most targeted population in this case are people of color (Wagner & Sawyer, 2018). Some of the impacts of the increased rates of incarceration are homelessness, drug addiction, mental illnesses, unemployment and many more. Generally, prisons do not make the social issues or crimes go away rather, they make people disappear. The practice of making people disappear away from immigrants the poor as well as racially marginalized societies has currently become a business.
The increase in the rates of imprisonment is among the most systematic applied government social program in the contemporary world. However, issues such as criminalization, social profiling and mass imprisoning of people of color is the main challenge in the criminal justice system. Another ethical concern is making mass incarceration a source of income or rather a business. Prison privatization is also another ethical concern which is the capital’s contemporary movement in the prison industry. Generally, government run prisons are typically in gross violation particularly in international human rights standards making the private prisons less liable. Incarceration is nothing less than slavery considering that a large number if these inmates offer labor services to a country without a living wage, bargaining power of even labor protections. Generally, labor is the only thing the imprisoners can withhold.
The breaches of ethics in slavery, racial profiling and using incarceration for profiting purposes in the prison industry are too much. Among the ethical breach that is reflective is the health in the system. Both mental and physical health of the inmates is a primary concern considering that a large number of the inmates suffer from chronic diseases, mental illness and even infectious diseases in comparison to the normal population. Besides, thousands of inmates released in the community every yearly have been reported to have an untreated communicable health condition or even an undiagnosed health concern. A large percentage of state prisons do not have a complete and reachable data concerning the health status of their inmates. The worst part is that, prisoners with mental illnesses tend to serve longer sentences with more disciplinary problems as they serve their sentence. Prisons should therefore have essential mental and medical care that is required by inmates because they end up suffering more painful symptoms as their health condition worsens.
The act of America’s prison system applies with the ethical perspective of Ethical Egoism considering that they are overly imprisoning their citizens with unsuitable justification that supports their action. Besides, private capital has been involved in the punishment industry which is all because of the profit potential making incarceration which has significantly impacted the U.S economy. Based on research, WCC increased its revenue from $138million to $210 million in the year 1997 (Wildeman & Wang, 2017). In comparison to the public correctional facilities, the increased profits in the private centres majorly depend on non union labor.
There have been numerous studies on whether the rates of crime have reduced over the past few decades due to mass incarceration and based on research, incarceration has resulted to an increase of crime in most states. Mass incarceration is unethical in one way or another considering that it causes more harm on the community than good. According to the utilitarianism theory, a deed is considered ethical when it produces more good for a large population of people (Bonnemains, Saurel & Tessier, 2016). Thus, mass incarceration is against the utilitarianism theory.
America should consider both Deontology and Utilitarianism ethics since they both provide insight of what is considered moral or not. Mass incarceration in that case is not an ethical standard since most people are racial profiled while other have been sentenced for crimes they did not even commit. Deontology theory on the other hand states that people are morally obliged to act in accordance of the set principles irrespective of the results. Prisoners face numerous health challenges including facing violence and injuries in prisons. Crime is just an excuse for the mass incarceration and breaking ot not practising ethical behaviours in prisons. For this trend to change, America must change its ethical standards and views first.
Wagner, P., & Sawyer, W. (n.d.). Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2018. Retrieved from
Wildeman, C., & Wang, E.A. (2017). Mass incarceration, public health, and widening inequality in the USA. The Lancet, 389, 1464-1474.
Bonnemains, V., Saurel, C., & Tessier, C. (2016). How Ethical Frameworks Answer to Ethical Dilemmas: Towards a Formal Model. EDIA@ECAI.