What is Alternative Incarceration?
Alternative incarceration is a substitute sentence given to individuals who have committed crimes other than serving a jail term. According to Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAAM), the punishments that are given in place of being sent to jail have serious demands on the offenders and require close supervision by the community and the court (822). However, being served with an alternative incarceration does not mean the crime committed is lenient. The substitute sentence plays a significant role in correcting the victims’ harms. Additionally, this kind of punishment benefits the community and assist in the rehabilitation of drug addicts and the crime offenders. Moreover, these alternatives can help prevent future crimes and reduce the cost of operation in prisons and jails (FAAM 823). Therefore, discussing the benefits and various types of alternative incarceration is imperative.
The alternatives to incarceration have various benefits. Firstly, the processes provide courts with more sentencing preferences. Each crime or offense is unique, and jail is not always the best solution. Secondly, the system will help save taxpayers money since the alternatives are cheaper than the cost of maintaining a prisoner in jail. In addition, the process will also help in reducing overcrowding in jails. Thirdly, the lawbreakers assist in protecting the community and minimizing crime. Upon being released from prison, it has been noted that most offenders end up committing a crime again (FAAM 824). Therefore, if alternative incarceration is implemented, these people will be able to confront crime, preventing them from committing the wrongdoings again. Finally, the alternatives will help in strengthening the family and community ties. Once an offender has been convicted, they spend a long time away from their families, thus, if these options are implemented, the offenders will spend more time with their families.
Benefits of Alternative Incarceration
Victim restoration is a sentencing process that focuses on repairing the harm brought by the offender, thereby healing all those affected by the crime committed. The process involves the offenders, victims, representatives of the court, and the community to achieve the goals through offender-victim mediation, victim restitution, and community service programs. The route kicks off when the victim, justice system representatives, and the community meet and unanimously agree on a system that will assist in healing the harm instigated by the wrongdoer. The mediation between the offender and the victim gives them time and space to meet and offer apologies and forgiveness for the crime that had been committed (FAAM 826). Victim restoration process can either be used alone or used conditionally as probation of a verdict. Therefore, the process of victim restoration is a viable method that can yield positive results on the offender, the victim, and the community at large.
Social reintegration is a process of giving the crime offenders the support as they seek to re-enter to the society after they have committed a crime and were arrested by the authority. The process involves some interventions to divert the offender from the justice system as a substitute measure. The method involves imposing community-based sanctions rather than having the offender serve an imprisonment. The intercessions were used to ensure that the offender could live with the law-abiding citizens after they were released. In addition, the interventions applied should be based on continued support and care for the offender (Chinyere and Nordin 22). The wrongdoers should be accorded constant assistance while in custody and after their release, ensuring a smooth transition as they return to society.
On the other hand, the society should be prepared to return the person to the community. They should ensure that there are no conflicts as they provide a role in correcting the wrongdoers instead of condemning them. It is significant to provide the much-needed support to the offenders by ensuring their transition from prison back to the community is successful, and the offender can incorporate what he gained while in prison. The interventions should also ensure the community does not hold grudges against the offender (Chinyere and Nordin 23). However, the process is viable if the offender is willing or has shown readiness to change his ways while the society is ready to support him/her. Therefore, this process plays a major role in providing an alternative to incarceration and ensuring the offender is accepted back to the community.
In conclusion, it has been noted that there are various ways a person who has committed a crime can be punished instead of serving a term in prison. In addition, for those who are released from jail before their term ends, there are techniques they can be re-integrated back to the community. Notably, these alternative justice processes have advantages that help the offenders change their ways and the community by ensuring their safety from wrongdoers. Therefore, it is crucial to consider these alternate incarceration initiatives rather than advocating for imprisonment when any crime is committed. However, the justice system should consider the crime committed and if the offender has had other criminal involvements. In addition, it is important to educate the community on how to handle and treat these offenders and ensure that they do not resume criminal activities.
Families Against Mandatory Minimums, “Alternatives to Incarceration in a Nutshell,” vol. 202, 2005, pp. 822-1000.
Ogbonna Chinyere, and Ross Nordin. Voices From the Inside: Case Studies from a Tennessee Women’s Prison. University Press of America, 2009.