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In terms of mass incarceration, the United States of America leads the world. The country's incredible resiliency in a mechanism aimed at changing conduct raises ethical concerns about mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex (Mosser, 2013). Criminal behavior, it seems, necessitates deterrence, and separation of criminals is essential for the safety of law-abiding people. According to utilitarianism, mass incarceration to promoting the prison industrial complex is not in the public interest and therefore immoral. The company's financial success is based on the abuse of prisoners, which demonstrates ethical egoism. The absence of or obedience to the rule defines the ethics of an individual's actions, which is termed as the deontology theory.
Knowledge of mass incarceration as well as prison industrial complex, assist in ascertaining the ethical connection of the three perspectives. Mass incarceration refers to the massive number of people incarcerated in America in prisons or jails. While the country's population forms only 5% of the total population worldwide, (Incarceration Nation ' American Psychological Association (2013) reports that its prisoners constitute 25% of the world's prisoners-approximately 2.2 million. A swollen population of offenders encourages the prison industrial complex (PIC).PIC originated from the military-industrial complex that occurred in the 1950's (Heather, 2012).It is a network of organizations and suppliers for medical care and food that work for the government to gain profit. It has an aggravating effect on prisoners, families, and communities. Against background, this paper aims to ethically examine mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex while focusing on the classical theories of utilitarianism and deontology as well as the ethical perspective of egoism.
The moral theory of utilitarianism uses the view that an action based on being appropriate or inappropriate is unpredictable which offers the greatest happiness to the victims (Heather, 2012).Therefore, the morality of mass incarceration and PIC are linked to the consequence of the affected individuals. Supposing that the process can cost-effectively subdue crime while benefiting more those impacted including criminals, families, and communities, it would be moral or vice versa. For instance, applying extreme incarceration to gain the company prison industrial complex at the cost of the society would be regarded utilitarianly unethical. The application of incarceration through correctional institutions is an essential way of preventing and managing criminal behavior, but the heavy dependence on the process by the United States raises questions about its effectiveness. Heather (2012) believes that mass incarceration and PIC constitute a connected industry through which their mutual damages surpass intended advantages. Hence the permission of their continuance without change is utilitarianly unethical. The social outcomes of the America's system of imprisonment are utilitarianly wrong since they do not assist the greater good. Inmates, themselves are deprived of their rights and the subjection to long confinement leads to long-term psychological issues. The challenge of offenders to receive appropriate health care warrants a problem ability to change back into the community. The series impact of the policy disseminates upon so many people that the usefulness of the process appears to minimal to amount to the ethics of utilitarianism.
'Rather than considering the outcomes of an action, deontology believes the reason behind the action, and the law according to which a person chooses to act,' is how Mosser, (2013) describes deontology. The theory of deontology elucidates that every person must obey honorable instructions although sometimes an individual's behavior may be regarded unethical. Introducing forces of markets in the existing system of prison in the United States has changed an initially acknowledgeable tool f of justice, to a developing commercial industry that views crime as a commodity, recidivism as a business strategy and offenders as a valuable product. According to philosophy at the height of ethics, deontological ethics states that it is ethically unjust to employ a human being as a way of benefiting (Guenther and Zeman, 2015). Regarding the privatization of correction in America, advocates of the deontology theory consider the incarceration of human inmates for the objective of gaining is ethically unacceptable and invalidated. In the background of PIC, the confinement of prisoners for gain purposes does not qualify for universality because it does not correspond to the Categorical Imperative. Thus, it is immoral and should be discontinued because it does not benefit all people. Also, since human beings are inherently valuable of and in themselves, individuals should be handled with instrumental value. In regards to the PIC, offenders function as tools for generating income at the expense of rehabilitation. Which was initially the theoretical basis for incarceration This system of treating prisoners as goods disgraces the Categorical Imperative because humans should not be used as tools for generating profits. This occurrence of cheap labor and slavery is the height of exploitation (Jail, 2012).
The ideology behind Ethical Egoism is that a person's righteous path is a chance on self-prosperity (Mosser, 2013).Based on ethical egoism, the PIC, with a network of companies are focusing on their interests via their hunt for their financial gain. Through political interventions, companies obtaining cheap prison labor have heavily funded strict rules aimed at encouraging mass incarceration. An effort of combined industries gains from the benefits of the penitentiary work as inmates earns meager wages. Mass incarceration has provided companies with cheap labor at the exploitation of offenders. It would be presumed that non-offender would have access to more employment opportunities due to mass incarceration. However, the society is severely affected as prisoners perform manufacturing jobs and complete labor for considerably for pay that is notably weak for a skilled non-offender. Ethical egoism is key to an organization's prosperity, although its impact on the society is worrying (Guenther and Zeman, 2015).PIC and mass incarceration are encouraging an imbalance in morals because the two have led to a rise in unemployment and job losses, increasing poverty. The introduction of legal technicalities like the omission of prisoners form job statistics, revoking citizenship and voting rights appear to benefit ethical egoism (Race Reconciliation In Prisons,2013). Sadly, those living in poverty and minority groups are a proof on this immorality. Lack of employment is brought disadvantages to the society which translates to communities, children, and families. The severe imbalance of this theory indicates a necessary transformation to the process as the community is oppressed while the industry gains.
Mass incarceration encourages PIC in the United States with consequences affecting the economy and the society. The system can yield both desirable and undesirable societal effects, although the overindulgence of ethical egoism in self-interest is reducing the utilitarian need for complete satisfaction. The perception of utilitarian would gain from the introduction of limits placed to minimize the abuse and the exploitation of the incarceration industry in America. The ethical egoist succeeds on the capacity to use every element of imprisonment to gain financially and would not support any restriction that threatens their path. Using ethical perspectives and ethical theories is a scholarly method to examine the negative impact of PIC and mass incarceration. The effects of mass incarceration are not only felt by prisoner but also by the community. The use of ethical theories can work efficiently at examining the negativity around this topic. Also, ethical perspectives provide several insights into the problem, particularly concentrating on how PIC and mass incarceration hurt society.
Guenther, Lisa, and Zeman, Scott. Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration. New York, US: Fordham University Press, 2015. ProQuest ebrary.
Heather Ann, T. (2012). THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: A Growth Industry in a Shrinking Economy. New Labor Forum, (3), 38.
Incarceration Nation ' American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/10/incarceration.aspx
Jail-Pay-Fine-Symbol-Sign [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://snappygoat.com/s/?q=jail#787b6307a23e1144ee52791cde63a79de36214cd,3,1732.
Mosser, K. (2013). Ethics and social responsibility (2nd ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/
Race Reconciliation In Prisons ' Corrections.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.corrections.com/news/article/44050
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