Alternative to Incarceration Essay

875 Words Apr 14th, 2006 4 Pages
December 5, 2001
Alternatives to incarceration

Ever since the first prison opened in the United States in 1790, incarceration has been the center of the nation's criminal justice system. Over this 200 year period many creative alternatives to incarceration have been tried, and many at a much lower cost than imprisonment. It wasn't until the late 1980's when our criminal justice systems across the country began experiencing a problem with overcrowding of facilities. This problem forced lawmakers to develop new options for sentencing criminal offenders. Unlike jail or prisons, which create an expensive cycle of violence and crime, these alternatives actually prevent violence and strengthen communities.
Community corrections programs
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Passive devices operate via radio transmissions in a wrist or ankle bracelet. Active devices use telephone robotics and computerized random calls to an offender's residence. Electronic monitoring is a component of the house arrest program. Offenders may be placed directly into this program at sentencing or placed on it when jail crowding occurs, or when a violation of probation occurs.
One of the newest and most publicized sanction programs is shock incarceration, or boot camps. These programs vary in size, duration, location, control of entry (judiciary or department of corrections), and the level of post-program supervision and in the level of training, education, or treatment programming provided. All of these programs are relatively brief, usually three to four months, and are designed for offenders who have not yet served time in a state prison. The programs draw on the model of a military boot camp. They stress strict discipline, obedience, regimentation, drill and ceremony, and physical conditioning, sometimes to include manual labor. Shock program participants are expected to learn self-discipline, teamwork and develop improved self-respect. Program participants are housed separately from the general prison population, although in some programs they are within sight and earshot of general population inmates. Several state boot camp programs focus their efforts and program design on changing inmate behavior by means other than punishment and

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