In the article written by Michael Fletcher, his thesis is that when the incarceration rate increases, so too does the crime rate because the community is destabilized when the incarceration rate increases.
The paper written by Fletcher describes how a community reacts when citizens are incarcerated increasingly. One of the major reasons for the destabilization of the community is that when the population begins to be arrested at higher rates, the members of the community begin to see prison as their fate and act accordingly. This means that community crime is going to go up because of the attitude that they will go to prison eventually anyway, so why not “get theirs” while they can. Also, when the community members are being arrested, there is an economic impact to that community which means that individuals will begin to make ends meet by committing crimes.
Fletcher also talks about how the social impact goes beyond how individuals view their situation. The impact of incarceration also includes that when criminals are released back to their community, they have a limited role to contribute to society. When an individual commits a felony and is incarcerated, they lose certain rights, including voting, and the ability to own a business. Also, being released from prison allows for less job opportunities, which in turn leads them back to crime. Felons may see their future as not including a proper career, and they see illegal activity as a way to supplement their income. Another economic impact is that of social programs. When an individual gets released from prison and cannot find a job, they must rely on social programs, such as welfare, which put an economic strain on, not only the community, but the county and state as well.
I agree with Fletcher’s thesis in that it is understandable to see how a higher incarceration rate may lead to a higher crime rate. Examples given by Fletcher through his investigation of the Tallahassee community, leads me to agree with his thesis.