Alternatives to Incarceration


Alternativesto Incarceration



Thejudicial court systems are looking for other innovative ways thatwill help promote public safety as well as improving their publichealth. The methods involved help minimize the costs involved incriminal justice. The alternatives to incarceration refer to othermeans employed by the judicial system against criminals instead oftaking them to prisons (American Bar Association, 2011). Thecommunity corrections offer different relevant alternatives toincarcerations for law offenders that help them change. Some theseprograms include bail supervision programs, community service orders,probation and restitution programs among others.

Thejudicial court systems have developed strategies that help savepublic funds. The strategies involve taking out drug offenders andlow-risk criminals out of jail and subjecting them to alternatives toincarceration (Anderson, 2010). They are not free, rather the courtholds them liable for the offenses committed to promoting publicsafety. The Obama Administration has established methods that willensure that the alternatives to incarceration are enhanced in theUnited States, and long term solutions are offered. He promised tocreate problems solving courts that will work together with thecommunity and other agencies. The programs have been successful, andstudies show that there has been improvement for offenders with lessreported incidences of crime and drug abuse (American BarAssociation, 2011).

Whileanalyzing the underlying historical and economic reasons behind thequest for alternatives to incarcerating lawbreakers in jails, it istrue to state that more states ignore these new techniques ofincarceration of criminals. They claim that the government uses morepublic funds for financing these programs. They consider theseprograms as a waste of money and advise the judicial systems to comeup with better alternatives (Anderson, 2010). While examining thehistorical reasons for the incarceration, there has been no singleapproach developed that would help the juvenile criminals. Thejudicial systems have developed numerous programs that it considerscrucial for the offenders. There have been suggestions from differentexperts, but no one has come up with a convincing and conclusiveprogram that works best for the juvenile delinquents. The judiciallyhas plans to set up children homes that will ensure that every childwho misbehaves is taken to these organizations for guidance andcounseling (Empey &amp United States 2012).

Thereare different alternatives to incarcerations that the juvenile courtsare currently using. The first alternative is home confinement at thecost of taking the child to prison. The method involves a conjunctionof the court systems, parents and teachers who monitor the child`sbehavior to ensure that he does not associate with the wrong peer(American Bar Association, 2011). The parents provide that the childis either at school, home or any other place known to her. Thejuvenile offenders are fixed with some Global Positioning Systems(GPS) that facilitate easier tracking. The method is mostly preferredto those offenders that are not considered dangerous to the community(Empey &amp United States 2012). In addition, it facilitates a closesupervision and making the criminal available when the probationofficer demands.

Thesecond type of alternative to incarceration adopted by the juvenilecourts is individual treatment. It entails treatment of the offenderin all the aspects including psychological, social, physical andcultural factors among others (Anderson, 2010). This type ofincarceration proves difficult to the offender as he has to deal withthe real problem. For example, a child who is into drugs, this methodhelps him undergo the treatment that addresses the problem.

Thereare a number of benefits experienced by the society and individualwhen the court issues punishments and sanctions that discourage theremoval of the offender from his family and community. Most of theexperts describe the move as one of the best methods that will bringabout change. It is demonstrated that change commence at home and itwill bring about involvement of the parents and guardians in theirchildren`s lives so as to foster change (Anderson, 2010). One of thebenefits of these sanctions is that they help strengthen families andcommunities. Offenders who are taken to prisons are separated fromtheir families and the community as a whole. Some parents are notpermitted to visit their loved ones in prisons, and this separatesthem for a long time if not forever. Contrary, the punishments thatallow offenders to stay at home strengthens the family ties (Empey &ampUnited States 2012). They are allowed to keep their jobs, pay theirtaxes and contribute positively to growth of the economy.

Theother benefit of these sanctions is that they help save taxpayersmoney. According to government reports released in the Unites States,it showed that it costs the government over $ 25,000 per year to takecare of one inmate (Anderson, 2010). The alternatives toincarcerations that allow the offenders to remain at home are cheaperas compared to being held in jail. Further, these programs helpreduce overcrowding in prisons. The punishments under this programhave proven to reduce crime in the community that these offendersoriginate. A further research shows that more than 35% of the inmatesleaving the prison are returned after committing the same crimes overa span of three years following their release (American BarAssociation, 2011). The forms of alternatives to incarcerations suchas individual treatment and the home confinement help monitor theoffenders carefully to ensure that they do not fall back to crime.


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AmericanBar Association. (2011). Secondchances in the criminal justice system: Alternatives to incarcerationand reentry strategies.Washington, D.C: American Bar Association, Commission on EffectiveCriminal Sanctions.

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Anderson,D. C. (2010). Sensiblejustice: Alternatives to prison.New York: New Press.

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Empey,L. M. T., &amp United States. (2012). Alternativesto Incarceration.Washington, D.C: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,Welfare Administration, Office of Juvenile Delinquency and YouthDevelopment.

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