Alternatives to Incarceration
Currently the prison system in the United States is near max capacity. Over the past decade the number of inmates in the prison system have continued to rise at a steady pace. The United States has the most inmates in the prison system compared to all other countries worldwide. Other issues have arisen due to the high numbers of inmates serving prison time. These social issues include concerns around human rights violations, the continuance of the cycle of poverty for an inmate’s family, and health conditions that worsen due to inadequate care and resources within the prison system. Some as an argument for alternatives to prions incarceration use these statistics and social issues.
Alternatives to incarceration allow a felon, usually convicted of a lesser offense, to keep a job, provide for their families, and to turn their lives around. The use of incarceration alternatives saves money when compared to what the government currently pays for each inmate serving time in a prison.
There are several different alternatives that are used to keep felons out of the prion system. These alternatives include fines, restorative justice, corporal punishment, capital punishment, and transformative justice. In some cases, felons who have been convicted of drug offenses might be given the opportunity to participate in community service programs or may life on house arrest while wearing a tracking device.
New York City has established an alternative incarceration program in their judicial system. A judge has the ability to enroll a felon in an Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) Program. To date the program has had around a 60% success rate. If the program does not work for a person and they offend again then the person will be sentenced to prison time.