The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison Essay

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison Essay.

Authored by Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison basically talks about the criminal justice and other relevant trends in the system

He practically based the content of his book on the insights that he gained from his colleagues in the university where he worked.


            Reiman bluntly stated his thesis statement right in the Introduction of the book. He wrote that the genuine aim of the American justice system is not actually to eliminate the cases of crime in the country but rather, to blame or put the stigma to the poor.

            The present American system on criminal justice is concern over the “maintenance” of the image of the poor as the ones who are always committing crimes.

The American criminal justice system wants to maintain the high percentage of the poor population who committed crime.

            To prove his claim, through his students, he came up with a correctional system that would make a group of criminal stable and visible instead of reducing or eradicating the cases of crimes.

They came up with the following suggestions:

  • Strictly execute certain national laws that would focus on combating social problems like prostitution, gambling, and drug abuse that are more likely related to crimes;
  • Deprive those who committed crimes of some of their rights for the rest of their lives;
  • Do not provide trainings for the prisoners for their future jobs after being released;
  • Make the experience of the criminals in prison even worse;
  • Give powers to the police, judges, and prosecutors to choose who would be arrested, jailed, or charged.

Crime Control

Meanwhile, in the chapter, “Crime Control in America,” the author suggested was actually designed to fail. He backed up his claim by saying that cases of drug abuses could not be merely reduced by putting in jail the arrested drug users. He added that the decline in the commitment of heinous crimes could not really be due to the strict implementation or reinforcement of the existing laws but rather due to the changing demographic characteristics in the society.

            Reiman furthered that cases of crimes could actually be reduced if we really want to. He explained that we are just too full of excuses to do what we should be doing to reduce the cases of crimes.

We are aware of the existing problems in the society like prison, drugs, and poverty yet we do not do something about it. He suggested that we all have the power to ban guns and decriminalize drugs to prevent all of these to happen.

By any other name

            In addition, in the chapter, “A Crime by Any Other Name…,” he stressed that work-related deaths that should have been prevented should also be considered as crimes.

The existing criminal justice system, he argued, could be viewed as: “male, poor, young, and black.”

 He added that this stigma is what has been being pushed by the current criminal justice system. He claimed that the existing criminal justice system seems to portray a particular image of crime neglecting or ignoring which hides the larger picture of the crimes in the society.

The system also hides the “white-collar” crimes. He viewed that the existing criminal justice system only considers the personal assaults as crimes not concerned over carelessness as a form of crime. Reiman furthered that in the workplace, like in the hospitals, there are actually high risks of committing crimes.

He added that even the use of chemical by some giant companies could also be considered as a form of crime.

            Reiman felt that the criminal justice system does not really know what is detrimental to the society.

The poor goes to prison

            Meanwhile, in the book’s chapter, “And the Poor Get Prison,” Reiman noted that the prisoners in jail are most likely coming from the lowest social strata of the nation. It could also be observed that those in prison usually come from the lowest economic strata of the society.

            Circumstances would expose that poor criminals are those who are usually immediately arrested and imprisoned while the rich or the wealthier who committed crimes would just be merely warned. Reiman used several evidences to back up his claim that there is indeed different treatment for the Blacks who committed crimes.

      The evidences that he presented are as follows:

  • Most of the blacks are unduly not wealthy;
  • The factors considered for a prisoner to be get out of jail do not usually apply to poor Blacks;
  • Whites and Black who are imprisoned come from the same social economic strata;
  • One’s racial characteristics may add up to his or her state in the economy;
  • America’s economic powers are not enough to eradicate or solve the racial discrimination in the criminal justice system of the country no matter how hard they try to do so.

Reiman said that the economic status of an individual may be an advantage for not committing a particular crime. He observed that the police, judge, and prosecutors would most likely send a poor criminal to jail rather that the wealthy ones.

            Even when the wealthy criminals are arrested and jailed it is rare that they would do or endure particular sufferings that the convicted poor criminals undergo.


                        In the book’s chapter, “To the Vanquished Belong the Spoils,” Reiman discussed why criminal justice is not successful in addressing the problems of crimes. He found out that the failure of the criminal justice system to fulfill its role is not merely by accident but because of the intention of the wealthy to keep the system as it is.

The rich appear to prevent the criminal justice system to define what justice really is. Despite the existing situation, Reiman did not claim that there is actually a conspiracy between the wealthy and the criminal justice system.

He said that the poor are only victims of this social predicament. Because the poor do not have the money to change the system, they are being left behind as the major perpetuator to crimes. They do not have the means of initiating change in the rotten criminal justice system.

            He also stressed that the existing criminal justice system put a particular stereotype among the poor. The society would usually view the poor as those who would engage their selves in crimes.

      The existing criminal justice system has equated crime to the poor.

            In ending the chapter of his book, he said that the society is just embracing the system of social equity especially in the area of criminal justice.

He argued that the society is just pushing against the welfare of the poor. He added that the society or the government is not doing anything to break the stigma among the poor being related to crimes.

            For Reiman, instead of protecting the rights and welfare of every member of the society, it rather promotes discrimination in the criminal justice system.


         I would like to agree to the claims of Reiman that there is an evident discrimination in the America’s criminal justice system.

            The situation of the criminal justice system would prove his claim. We cannot deny the fact that we usually perceive crimes as usually committed by the poor. Whenever we heard stories of crimes committed by the wealthy ones, we are usually concerned over them or give them the benefit of the doubt.

            Although there are existing local laws that gives and promotes equality in the treatment of criminals, the reality, however, is not observing what is right.

            Since time immemorial, there have been certain judgments and stereotypes that we pass among the poor, especially the poor Blacks. Also, there actually “special treatments” being rendered to the wealthy who have committed crimes. We do not see them being swarmed inside a prison cell. We usually see the poor or the Blacks suffering the “hardships” and “sufferings” of the criminal justice system.

            Reiman’s The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison is just a representation of the sad reality hounding our society. I think his work is just a mirror of what could be seen in the society. Reiman’s book just exposed how unfair and anti-poor the extisting crminial justice is in the United States—or in other countries as well.

            The government should do something about it. They should not only serve the interests and welfare of the wealthy. After all, the poor and the Blacks are also their constituents. The wealthy should not, in any way, manipulate the criminal justice system through their money and power.

            There should be justice for all—no matter what his or her economic and social strata is.

      True enough, it is upon us if we really want to change this rotten system.


Reiman, J. (2007). The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison (8th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison Essay

Irish Prison System Essay

Irish Prison System Essay.

In 2012, the average cost of imprisonment per prisoner in Ireland was €65, 404. The current prison population is 4, 306. That’s an estimated 282, 000,000 of the tax payers money spent on prisons in Ireland per annum.


This Irish prison system consists of 15 different institutions. This is made up of eleven traditional ‘closed’ prisons, two ‘open’ prisons, a training prison and a prison for young offenders. All of our prisons are termed medium-low security, apart from Portlaoise prison; a male only prison and our countries only high security prison.

The purpose of a prison is to retain those legally committed of a crime as punishment or whilst they await trial. ‘The mission of the Irish prison service (as stated in their 2010 Annual Report) is to provide safe, secure and humane custody for people who are sent to prison.

The Service is committed to managing custodial sentences in a way which encourages and supports prisoners in their endeavouring to live law abiding and purposeful lives as valued members of society.

’ This essay will examine the capital which is currently spent on the Irish prison system and assess if the Irish prison system merits the money which it expends. Is €65,404 a reasonable amount to spend on the legal punishment of one individual, and are the systems in place effective in providing our prisoners with rehabilitation and social regeneration? Utilising these findings the discussion will attempt to offer alternative systems of punishment to imprisonment.

Poor Conditions

The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an examination of Irish prison conditions in January- February 2010. The report described ‘degrading’ behaviour and ‘un-hygienic’ conditions. An examination of Portlaoise prison’s E-block discovered inadequate and unacceptable sanitary facilities. The cells were small (6m²) and some of them were dilapidated with broken windows and dirty walls.

None of the cells had in-cell sanitation and, at night, if a prisoner had to defecate he was likely thereafter to wrap up the faeces in a parcel and sometimes throw it out of the window. A typical day for a prisoner is made up of 16 ½ hours of ‘lock up’, those under severe confinement can endure 18 hours or more of being restricted to their cell. In extreme cases some prisoners may not even get to spend one hour a day outside of their cell. The CPT concluded that: ‘… 23-hour lock-up should only be considered as a temporary respite, whereas in the Irish prison system it has developed into a general measure.’

The Prisoner’s Life

Whilst research presents the inhumane conditions that exist in some of our prisons we also hear reports of recreationally facilities that some law abiding working class citizens do not even have access too. In 2009 journalist with the Evening Herald, Cormac Looney states that a sum of almost €200,000 was spent on sports equipment for prisoners in Ireland. He notes that Mountjoy Prison received €36,388 worth or sports, gym and recreational equipment, while inmates of the high-security Portlaoise prison which include former gang lord John Giligan received €28, 214 in sports equipment.

Fiach Kelly of the Irish Independent informed us in 2010 that members of the Irish prison service had signed an additional €200,000 contract to upgrade our prisons for the subsequent three years. Kelly quotes Fine Gael’s then spokesman on public spending, Brian Hayes. “I fully accept the prisoners need proper gym facilities,” he said. “The question is why are they being kitted out again at this cost. I find it quite extraordinary the IPS (Irish Prisoners Service) signed off on this lavish expenditure item.” The IPS justified these expenses, claiming the equipment was of good value for the agreed price. An IPS spokesperson maintained that the provision of a gym would in the long run help prisoners to take control of other areas of their lives.

Surely our prison systems main priority should be acting in accordance to their mission statement as stated in their three year strategic plan (2012-2015), adhering to the guidelines set for protecting basic human rights and meeting the prescribed health and safety standards. Our Mission: Providing safe and secure custody, dignity of care and rehabilitation to prisoners for safer communities.

Our Vision: A safer community through excellence in a prison service built on respect for human dignity.

A Case Study – Inside the Joy
Little do Irishmen know the wretchedness of imprisonment.
(John K. Casey, Fenian prisoner, Mountjoy Prison)

Much ‘no-holds-barred’ writings exist on the inside stories of Mountjoy prison. They reveal what life is really like as an inmate; from desperation and depression, to bullying, beatings and the drugs network. The 2010 report by the CPT describes the ill-treatment of prisoners by staff members. An inmate of Mountjoy prison claims he was physically assaulted by a number of prison officers;

A prisoner at Mountjoy Prison alleged that on 15 October 2009 he was physically assaulted in his cell by several prison officers, in the course of which he claimed he was thrown on the floor and repeatedly stamped and hit on the chest, arms and head. He also alleged that he was punched in the ribs while being escorted down the stairs to the basement of B Block 9. The photographic evidence of the injuries contained in the medical record is consistent with repeated injury to the chest wall; extensive bruising of the outer aspect of the left arm is not consistent with simply having been restrained.

Former Governor of Mountjoy John Lonergan provides an insight into the prison. Even Lonergan maintains it was still a kip when he retired in June 2010. Paul Howards ‘tell-all’ account of a prisoner’s life in Mountjoy unveil stark revelations of the desperate conditions Irelands’ criminals endure. Prisoners are limited to one shower a week and one change of underwear per week. We learn of the littlest things that bring joy to the inmates such as a radio-show by Father Michael Cleary and the effects that using a privilege like the use of the library have on prisoners.

Problems with Irish Prisons

The Irish Prison System leaves a lot to be desired, outlined below are two of the major problems the system faces.

* Overcrowding
An over-reliance of the Irish criminal system on imprisonment as a form of punishment is just one explanation but forward in an attempt to explain the vast number (4,306) of criminals sentenced to imprisonment. The number of individuals sent to prison for not paying fines has increased by 10.5%, resulting in an estimated 18 non-fine payers occupying prison cells on any one day.

Findings of the CPT report over-crowding in all the major prisons. The report questions the progress of Mountjoy’s Thornton Hall complex which the Irish authorities had originally optimistically stated would be complete and ready for occupancy in 2010, this date has now been pushed back to 2015. Besides building new cells and providing additional sleeping arrangements our only option is to reduce the number of individuals admitted to our prisons. Tackling the crime rate is another problem so for now we should look at providing petty criminals with punishment other than imprisonment. The Irish Prison Services Annual Reports for 2002 and 2003, noting the expense of keeping an individual in prison stress that ‘imprisonment must remain the sanction of last resort.’

* Staffing Issues
In 2010 the Irish Examiner amongst other national publications alleged that Northern Ireland’s prisons had more staff than inmates. Particular reference was made to Maghaberry prison, a high security prison in Co. Antrim. Statistics presented showed that Northern Ireland’s 1,500 prisoner population was staffed by approximately 2,300 persons. A well-staffed prison is not sufficient if it can’t recognise its’ inmates basic human rights and provide facilities which satisfy these. €282,000,000 Worth of Expenses

If overcrowding is common, and basic sanitary facilities are not being provided then why is the Irish Prison System expending an overwhelming amount of capital? While the figures are high expenditure has actually de-creased in recent years, this is not due to a fall in the number of prisoners but more to do with the issue of overcrowding which reduces the cost of bed space. Again we need to look at those responsible for the management of staffing and finance. It seems the Irish Prison System, like much of the State’s governing bodies need a lesson in financial management. What is the Alternative?

There is no question that prisons are an integral part of any functioning society, but in order to provide basic facilities for criminals who require such punishment we need to look at the crimes that may not require punishment of that extent. We need to look at alternative means of punishment for the likes of non-fine payers and similar offenders. The Evening Herald tells us that just less than 200 individuals were punished with prison sentences for not paying court fines linked to TV licenses in 2011. The article shows that 25 people a day are now being sent to prison for failing to pay court fines. There were 1, 680 women sent to prison in 2011 and 1, 300 of those were due to their failure to pay court ordered fines. An obvious alternative punishment for non-fine payers and similar offenders is community service, no real threat to society as a whole and humiliation and inconvenience would be effective punishment for such crimes.

Community service could be in their local area so as to increase the humiliation therefore deter individuals from re-offending and encourage others to pay such charges. Another suggestion is the introduction of manual labour into the prison system. The Irish Prison System outlined the need for exercise for prisoners, instead of spending capital on the provision of state-of-the-art fitness and training equipment serious offenders could be forced to participate in tasks such as the cleaning, up-keep and refurbishing of prisons. While a prisoner’s intrinsic rights and health must always be foremost in decision making a reduction in some more lavish recreational facilities may reduce the number of re-offenders when they have extremely negative experiences in prison.

The number of prisoners committed to prison more than once in 2010 stood at 3,421. In More Streetwise: Stories from Irish Prisons editor and part-time prison teacher Neville Thompson suggests the provision of a back-up system for prisoners when they are released. He describes a touring theatre company which he hopes to set up; “What a Waste Productions.” The company would engage in writing, music, acting, set design and production. This idea could reduce the number of re-offenders. With too much time to think and very little space in which to do it prisoner’s very often resort to writing or poetry, involvement in something positive which helps them discuss and come to terms with their experiences in prison may discourage prisoners from returning to crime.

Thompson envisages the production company eventually becoming self-supporting but justifies initial government financial input in these terms; It now costs €85,000 to keep a prisoner inside. God knows how many prisoners rob before they are caught again. However, we are looking to get €20,000 per prisoner for the projects we have in hand. At first instance, taking the projects we have in place it would cost us €200,000 to keep our project afloat for a year as opposed to €850,000 to keep them incarcerated.


While the idea that prisons’ are a complete waste of money is generally as result of ignorance the large amount of capital that the Irish Prison System expends is not justified when we look at the failure of Irish prisons to deliver basic facilities to inmates. We need to sentence those who need to be dealt with in such a way and look at an alternative means of punishment for those who don’t require such punishment. Much media coverage tells us of the lavish lifestyles which inmates such as Sean Quinn lead. This glamourises prison life and needs to be tackled in order to promote a less-appealing system and make the Irish prison system what it should be; a threat to discourage individuals from committing crimes. The suggestion that tackling media portrayal of life in prison would greatly reduce the number of offenders is highly idealistic but coupled with an effective program for criminals coming out of prison may at least reduce the number of re-offenders.


* Carey, T. 2000. Mountjoy: The Story of a Prison. Cork: The Collins Press. * Howard, P.1996. The Joy. Dublin: The O’Brien Press.
* Lonergan, J. 2010. The Governor. Dublin: Penguin Ireland. * O’Donnell, I. and O’Sullivan. E. 2001. Crime Control in Ireland: The politics of Intolerance. Cork: Cork University Press. * O’Mahony, P. 2000. Prison Policy in Ireland: Criminal Justice versus Social Justice. Cork: Cork University Press. * Thompson, N. 2007. More Streetwise: Stories from Irish Prisons. Mullingar: Killynon House Books Ltd.

Government Publications:
* Irish Prison Service 2012. Three Year Strategic Plan [Online] Available from: [Last Accessed 09 May 2013] * The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 2010. Report to the Government of Ireland on the visit to Ireland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 09 May 2013]. * The Irish Prison Service 2010. Irish Prison Service Annual Report [Online] Available from: [Accessed 09 May 2013]

Newspaper Articles:
* Kelly, F. 2010. Prisons to spend €200,000 on ‘lavish’ equipment for gyms. The Irish Independent: Ireland [Online], 13 October. Available from: [Accessed 09 May 2013]. * Lavery, M. 2013. 121 women are sent to jail for failing to pay TV licence fines. The Evening Herald: Ireland [Online], 15 December. Available from: [Accessed 09 May 2013]. * Looney, C. 2009. €200k for prison gyms as garda budget slashed. The Evening Herald: Ireland [Online], 05 March. Available from: [Accessed 09 May 2013]. * O’Keefe, C. 2013. Prison bosses urge to kick football spend to touch. The Irish Examiner Ireland [Online], 10 January. Available from: [Accessed 09 May 2013]. * The Irish Examiner, 2010. North’s prisons ineffective ‘despite having more staff than prisoners’. 14 December. Available from: [Accessed 09 May 2013].


* The Irish Penal Reform Trust 2013. Facts and figures [Online]. Available from: [Last Accessed 09 May 2013]. * The Irish Prison Service 2013. Prisons [Online] Available from: [Last Accessed 09 May 2013].

* Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice 2012. The Irish Prison System Vision, Values, Reality. Dublin: Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. * Matthews-Lynch, C. 2010. Are prisons a waste of money? [Online] BA, Dublin City University. Available: [Last Accessed 09 May 2013].

Irish Prison System Essay

Foucault Questions Essay

Foucault Questions Essay.

What are the limitations? 2. What distinctions can be made between the ordering and controlling of leprosy and the plague? 3. What does Foucault mean by “rituals of exclusion” and “”disciplinary projects”? 4. How does the panoptic mechanism differ from a dungeon? What are the principal characteristics of each? What are the goals of each? 5. What importance does Foucault attribute to “visibility”? What role do visibility and invisibility play in panoptic structures of power? . Foucault states, “The plague-stricken town, the panoptic establishment – the differences are important.

” What are those differences and how are they important? 7. In describing Panopticism, Foucault is meticulous in tracing the historical evolution of the panopticon as a disciplinary mechanism. What is his purpose in doing so? Why is he so careful? 8. Outline the major historical events Foucault cites. With what example(s) does Foucault begin? With what does he end? 9.

What does Foucault mean when he says that disciplinary projects moved from the margins of society to the center? What is meant by “margin”? What is meant by “center”? What is the significance of this transition of discipline from the margins to the center? 10.

What does Foucault mean when he says that societies of antiquity were “societies of spectacle” and modern societies are “societies of surveillance”? What are the differences? What historical events created such differences?

Foucault Questions Essay

Ethical Treatment of Prisoners Essay

Ethical Treatment of Prisoners Essay.

Ethical Treatment of Prisoners BY MeltssaoT People in society today have rules, regulations, and guidelines to follow in order to maintain freedom, safety, structure, and self-discipline. If any of these rules are broken, there are consequences to follow. It depends on the severity of the crime on what type of punishment or consequence is given to an individual. If the crime is severe enough the individual may be deprived of their rights, freedom of movement, and sent to prison for a duration of time.

If one is sent to prison then the ethical treatment of prisoner’s rights must be taking into consideration and analyzed. A prisoner/inmate is a person that has committed a criminal offence and depending on their criminal history he or she may be put on probation or confined to a county Jail or state penitentiary. Once an individual gets behind those block walls their lives then tend to belong to the deputies, correctional officer or warden that is employed by that facility.

Within the prison system there is a division of power that exists. This power can leave feelings of powerlessness and dependency in the prisoners. We all have heard stories of correction officers using their power of authority to abuse and psychologically harm the prisoner. For example a couple of months ago in the state that I live in there was an inmate who was locked up for a minor charge of failure to appear. He was waiting for his dinner this particular evening, and the deputy almost slammed the inmate finger in the door.

Of course this escalade into a verbal altercation between the two, and from there a physical fight broke out. The deputy which outweighed the inmate by over 100 pounds picked up the inmate and slammed him on his head onto a concrete floor multiple times until the inmate was unconscious. The Jailhouse officials rush this inmate to the ospital in which he went into a coma, and eventually was placed on life support. The family of this inmate was faced with a difficult situation which was either remove him from life support or leave him there to waste a away.

In the end the family made the decision to remove their love one from life support, and the deputy was behind a minor criminal matter the question is did he deserve to be treated less than a human being? Did he really deserve to die? Some people might argue the fact that because he was locked up then he deserved the treatment that he got and others might voice the difference. I personally say no, because this is still a life and even though he made a mistake there should have been a correct way to go about punishment for this inmate if he really had got out of order.

When law abiding citizens and correctional officers look at prisoners, it does not matter what the crime was or how severe the punishment, a prisoner is a “nobody. ” In the United States there are many people that may agree and have strong feelings when it comes to this statement. In ethics a utilitarian may say that human beings should focus on the potential rules of an action and determine what would happen if e or she follows the rules. Utilitarian theory states the moral worth of an action should be determined specifically by its usefulness in maximizing utility and minimizing negative utility.

The world as a whole has a moral code on how people should conduct themselves, on what is right and wrong. The belief of the utilitarian theory can be used in prisons to help those that really want to be rehabilitated. I am not saying that this theory will work for all, but there are some men and women that deserve another chance in life. We have to realize that everyone makes mistakes n their life, some are worse than others, but in the end everyone still deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter what they may have done.

I have heard stories about men that may have raped or killed a little child is sent to prison the correctional officers tend to sometime turn their heads and let the other inmates beat him or rape him until he is almost dead. I don’t agree with the fact that he hurt a child but at the same time I don’t think that its morally right that they allow the other inmates to Jeopardize what little bit of freedom that they may have behind hose prison walls either.

The ethical solution to this is when you do have a child rapist sent to prison put those type of people in a area amongst themselves and maybe have counselors around where they can get a better understanding of this person sick mind because sometimes these people that do these type of things have had some type of trauma when they were a child. It is unethical to confine an individual to a correctional facility and expose this individual to danger.

When you talk about ethics in prison, in the eyes of some that is either driving by hat facility yard every day or has never really been behind those thick masculine bars then one may say that these people are animals and they deserve to be behind those bars. Once behind those bars their life changes because they have to be told when to eat, when to sleep, when to walk and talk. If an inmate is not like by a correctional officer or if one does not follow order then they may be deprived of food or even yard time. Torture and beatings will not correct their behavior but will make them more aggressive so that choice is not the best.

If any of these things should appen then this may lead to riots and in serious scenarios, killing of security guards. It is best to provide the basic needs such as food to the prisoners so that there is a harmonious reaction between the prisoner and the correction officer. The utilitarian would say that inmates should follow a morally right rule that would result in happiness in which once they are return to society they can determine what rules citizens. Learning positive rules will result to good behavior and a change of mind that life without freedom is something that one may not want to return to. In contrast…..

Ethical Treatment of Prisoners Essay