Arguments for and against Alternatives to Incarceration Restrictions
In the recent decades, alternatives to incarceration have been largely embraced as the new methods in imprisonment. Immediately after World War II, criminal justice system stakeholders started to doubt the rehabilitation approaches that widely involved confining prisoners in the prisons. Historically, prison and probation were the two major forms of imprisonment (Taxman & Breno, 2017). With the urge to come up with other effective imprisonment options, alternatives to incarceration emerged and became recognized as the sentencing options. However, since the adoption of these imprisonment alternatives, several stakeholders as well general public have called for their restriction. This paper disputes the argument of imprisonment alternatives restrictions by citing the importance and the benefits that have been linked to these incarceration alternatives. The common imprisonment options comprise of day parole, electronic monitoring or house arrest, correctional supervision, periodical imprisonment and community-based service.Alternatives to incarcerations do not only contribute to the economic benefits to the offenders but also the social benefits. Economically, the offenders are allowed to engage in productive activities. Socially, the offenders have an opportunity to associate and interact with the rest of the society and hence cater for the social satisfaction that they are denied when the locked and confined in the lonely cells (Johnson, 2009). This paper finds it appropriate to allow the application of alternatives to imprisonment to enable the offenders to go through a humane rehabilitation process. Different countries of the world have been experiencing the overcrowding of prisons. This places a burden to only to the prison management but also to the government that has to incur extra budgets as well as the inmates themselves. However, turning to community-based services as an alternative to incarceration have saved inmates from unacceptable prison conditions. Besides, the prison staff has been relieved from stressful conditions that involve undertaking unbearable workload.
Even though, community-based imprisonment is demanding both emotionally and physically to the point where it restricts the offender’ freedom it is more beneficial than the prison rehabilitation mechanisms. According to Frana & Schroeder ( 2012), the community corrections involves exposing the offender into the self-discipline environment than in turn manifests into respect for others. Additionally, community-based services ensure that the offender is maintained in the situations or tasks that challenge their ability, experience, and attitude (Taxman & Breno, 2017). Analyzing the benefits of the community-based services, it is evident that they have positive mechanisms for encouraging the offender to reform compared to the prison sentence that seems to apply forceful rehabilitation mechanisms. Community-based corrections approach has been voted as one of the best for making the offender compensate for his or her offenses and as a result, encourage the self-respect and individual growth. This alternative provides the offender with the reality that the community is affected by his or her actions. On the other hand, this correction approach helps the community to understand that offenders can reform and contribute to the community constructively.
House arrest or detention is another effective correction method that can be used to reduce the overcrowding and the costs of running the prisons. House detention can take two forms, confining the offender throughout the day or only during non-working hours. Offenders serving imprisonment term through this method are allowed to leave their residents when attending crucial activities and services such as medical appointments, visiting the police station or probation officer (Frana & Schroeder, 2012). Alternatively, the offender can leave his or her home to undertake activities such as executing community services, attending church services or shopping but only with pre-approval from the probation officer. The house arrest provides the offender with an opportunity to stay close with family members an act that facilitates him or her to overcome offensive behavior faster than the prison confinement method. Besides, the offenders who are confined under the house arrest only during non-working hours are availed with the chance of being productive.The day parole has been marked as a crucial phase that assists the offender in allowing him or her in the community but only under controlled circumstances as well as at his or her responsibility. The temporary release of the offender enables him or her to interact with the society and in turn accelerate the rehabilitation process. This helps to expose the offender into community environment that prepares him or her to cope with the society once released permanently. The correctional supervision is another community-based correction whereby the offender is confined in the community instead of the prison. Correctional supervision enables the probationer to maintain the existing vital links between the community and his or her family. Alternatively, the correctional supervision allows the offender to seek employment, unlike the prison imprisonment that deters an offender the right to look for an employment opportunity which in turn prevents from being able to support his family. Finally, the probationer is influenced to engage in behavioral change through making decisions and being responsible for his or her actions. In conclusion, this paper holds that alternatives to incarcerations should not be restricted because they offer rampant benefits that are not only important to the rehabilitation of the offender but also the government and community at large.