Prison Alternatives To Prison

2056 Words 9 Pages
How well do our prisons reform prisoners? What are the alternatives to prison? What is the best, most cost-effective way of protecting the public? These are some of the questions raised by individuals who are legitimately concerned not only with where their tax dollars are going, but also with what is being done to break the cycle of crime within their representative communities. When prisons were first introduced to our society in 1790, the idea of rehabilitation as an alternative to corporal or spiritual punishment was adopted and the belief that if inmates were forced to examine their conduct in confinement, repentance and religious conversion could occur. David Cayley, a reporter for the CBS show Ideas, summarizes the reasons we jail people today:

In theory, we send people to prison
…show more content…
Incarcerating these low-level offenders is extremely costly, and it wastes prison space. An individual incarcerated in a federal prison today costs the taxpayer $24,783 per year (Corrections Compendium 23). These offenders could undergo corrections and punishment under an alternative program in place of incarceration.

The current rate of incarceration in the United States is out of control. As a nation, we must replace incarceration with alternative methods. In our current state of government downsizing, it is of the utmost importance for policy makers to develop a criminal justice plan that is both successful and cost effective while continuing to remain vigilant against crime. Research and reform, if actively implemented, will modify our defective justice system. Put simply by Judge Heino Lilles, "The justice system isn 't a system at all" (qtd. in Lawrence 5).

One proven alternative to imprisonment is the federal probation and pretrial services

Related Documents