Despite High Incacerration Rates In The US, Most Americans Don’t Feel Safe

The US is the global leader in prison sentences, with two million individuals currently incarcerated in jails and prisons across the country. Despite this, a recent study shows that locking up more criminals isn’t making Americans feel safer in their neighborhoods.

Most Americans are afraid of becoming a victim of crime 

Experiences of safety were evaluated across the nation, in both regions with low and high rates of incarceration, by Penn State University researchers. They discovered that irrespective of where one lived or how many criminals the legal system imprisons, Americans were all equally frightened of becoming a victim of crime.

The study examined data from the General Social Survey collected from 7,053 individuals in each county and 18,010 individuals at the federal level. Respondents mentioned how scared they felt in their neighborhood and in their county of residence. Additionally, researchers obtained information on each state’s and county’s rates of incarceration over the previous ten years.

According to research, there’s no discernible distinction in the level of crime-related fear among residents of states or counties with greater incarceration rates. 

Andrea Corradi, a graduate fellow at Penn State University, said that regardless of the place where one lives, it’s probable that national discourse or media rhetoric is having an impact on a person’s apprehension of crime and incarceration rates. However, Corradi added that the real measures that are being supported by that discourse aren’t solving the issue.

Punitive laws motivated by political beliefs 

Corradi urged the adoption of evidence-based measures to address the high prevalence of incarceration in the country. However, according to Corradi, most of these punitive laws were motivated by political beliefs and hopes rather than empirical data. As a result, millions of people have been negatively impacted by incarceration rates, whereas most of the anticipated gains, particularly in terms of reduced crime, never materialized.

Officials promised that the policies could reduce crime and increase public safety. Although there is conflicting evidence regarding whether the policies have reduced crime, according to Corradi, no research has looked into whether they have increased Americans’ feelings of safety.

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