An Overview Of Alternative Methods Of Incarceration

881 words - 4 pages

An Overview of Alternative Methods of Incarceration
Leaders at the Federal, State, and Local levels are constantly seeking ingenious methods to reduce the costs of criminal justice and corrections. It is agreed that violent offenders should be in maximum security facilities, however establishing alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders have become a necessity (e.g. DMI, Project HOPE, The 24/7 sobriety project). Due to the overcrowding and budget issues, methods have been devised to increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system while maintaining public safety. “The cost per day for a client in jail or prison is $107.71 as opposed to alternatives (e.g. Drug Court $10.33; ...view middle of the document...

Residential Community Corrections: Halfway houses serve as residents where prisoners spend pre-release time while becoming reintegrated into the community. Many offenders are released into this program, if the courts determine by considering the offense and profile that an offender can benefit from the structure and counseling provided by halfway houses, as opposed to incarceration. Halfway houses cost less and relieve the overcrowding of jails and prison. Offenders must work full time to maintain the facility, perform community service, and attend educational and counseling programs. They are regularly tested for drugs. Offenders are permitted to leave only for work or approved treatment programs and must return to the facility by a designated time.
Diversionary Treatment Programs: This is an opportunity for low-level offenders and first time offenders to manage the charges against them without pleading guilty or going to trial. Diversionary programs are less costly affording the defendant the opportunity to compensate victims by paying restitution and community service. The duration of the program is six months to a year or more and defendants pay for their diversion program. Once the participant completes the program, the case returns to court and the infraction is either dismissed or the defendant receives a lesser charge.
House Arrest and Electronic Monitoring: These methods if properly operated can be a cost effective, community friendly program to maintain low-risk and non-violent offenders. Offenders can only leave the home for medical appointments or emergencies, work, community service, and probation appointments. Electronic monitoring devices are checked periodically for maintenance and to inspect for tampering. Perpetual supervision by officers is critical to ensure the success of these programs.
Ignition Interlocks: It is mandatory that offenders convicted and...

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