There seems to be a problem with our criminal justice system when violent and non violent criminals are all punished the same way. The distinction between these two groups of people should be defined clearly. All of those who commit violent crime in this country should be punished one way and those who commit nonviolent crimes should be punished another. This is because our system places all criminals together and it seems that they are successful in turning those who are nonviolent into violent criminals through their punishment.
Punishment and rehabilitation
When it comes to nonviolent crimes like drug trafficking, drug possessions or property crimes that do not use any sort of force toward another should be approached differently for punishment. They should definitely be punished but the nonviolent should not be housed with the violent. These criminals should be given access to therapy during their incarceration to help them defeat the mental issues that have made the act of drug use, or thievery an attractive option. It has been well documented that those who abuse drugs are often dealing with a trauma from their past. It could be abuse or neglect of some kind which made a drug addiction seem like a good idea. It is also true that rehabilitation is going to be the most financially effective manner in addressing these abusers of the criminal justice system.
A violent criminal who has committed a violent act on the life of another should be treated much differently. Even though there is an opportunity to rehabilitate there is a greater need of the victims and the families of victims to have a feeling of retribution. These people have forfeited their personal right for existence by violating the rights of others. There is a price to pay when one person endangers or takes the life, well being or personal freedom of another. All violent offenders should be placed in jail and not released until they are proven to be no threat to society if ever. There are people who commit acts of domestic violence who are released only to commit another act in the future. Those who commit violence against others need at the least intense therapy but in most cases are going to need to be placed in incarceration in order to protect society at large.
There is a significant difference between these two types of criminals and establishing a criminal justice system that treated them as such would be a fantastic start on the way to justice.