Perhaps the most effective means of reducing prison overcrowding is to eliminate of minimize those things that lead to criminal conduct in the first place. Criminologists generally agree that idleness as a result of unemployment and non-productive activity gives way to criminal conduct. (Farrington, Gallagher, Morley, St. Ledger and West, 335) The main causes of unemployment are illiteracy and substance abuse. (Farrington, Gallagher, Morley, St.
Ledger and West, 335) It therefore makes sense to target these issues on a community and family based perspective for long-term goals of minimizing the risk of substance abuse and illiteracy. 1. Illiteracy Illiteracy can be combated by encouraging the youth to remain in school and by discouraging the current sedentary lifestyles in which youth focus far too much attention on the internet, video games and television. (Hawkins, 443) In order to break this cycle parents ought to become more involved in their children’s leisure time and encourage reading at home.
Moreover, the minimum age permitting children to leave school should be abolished so that all children are required to obtain a secondary education. Adults who did not complete a secondary education should be encouraged to take on a continuing education program or at the very least take a literacy class to improve literacy skills. 2. Drug Abuse Both community based and familial based support systems are required to combat the prevalence of drugs and the propensity for abuse. (Hawkins, 444) The most desirable approach is to prevent drug abuse in the first place.
However, realistically this is virtually impossible. Peer pressure among youth, the economic attraction to the proceeds of illicit drugs ensures a steady supply and the vulnerable are susceptible to drug use at some stage. The best approach to combating drug abuse is the provision of community based narcotics anonymous and treatment programs that encourage attendance by abusers and loved-ones for support. Moreover, family and community activities can also help to ward off the temptation to subscribe to frequent drug use if at all. Works Cited American Legislative Exchange Council.
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