Underlying historical and economic reasons behind the quest for alternatives to incarcerating offenders in jails and prisons
In American History, the government has been using incarceration as a way of correcting the behavior of an individual and to discourage other people in society from taking part in such crimes. Incarceration is also important because it separates the people who have committed capital offenses from the general public as a way of protecting the people in the society. However, some social concerns have been raised over the incarceration of juvenile offenders because some of them have been incarcerated repeatedly. The fact that various juvenile offenders have been incarcerated repeatedly brings questions of whether incarceration achieves its objective. The safety of the public has been declining despite the increase in the rates of incarceration. The authorities are, therefore, considering various alternatives to incarceration with the aim of fighting crime in society and use society as a way of helping the offenders to address the problem. Incarceration of the juvenile delinquents has a toll on the economy of the United States of America. The cost of incarceration of one person in the United States of America is approximately $25,000 of tax-payers’ money. The department of justice is likely to spend more than $50 billion on incarceration in 2020, money that could be used for other important purposes in the United States of America.
On the other hand, other alternatives, such as home monitoring, cost $5000 per year. The use of community service is also important because it offers services to the community. The alternatives to incarceration have been designed with the aim of building a better and safer and making the societies to be much better (Bhuller et al., 2020).
Alternatives to incarceration that juvenile courts currently use
The alternatives to incarceration that are currently in use include outright release, supervised release, Functional Family Therapy, Aggressive replacement therapy, Multi-Systemic Therapy, and Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care. Outright release involves releasing the youths to their parents before Adjudication. Kihm and Block (1982) found out that such an alternative contributed to the suspects failing to attend the court proceedings. Supervised release is an alternative that is given to the suspects that are too risky and are likely to miss the court proceedings. It may include both home monitoring as well as monitoring individuals using electronic devices. Supervised release requires individuals to stay home at all times, and they are also expected to stay at home except when they are going to work or school or during the evenings. Functional Family Therapy is aimed at addressing the dysfunction in the families, noting that taking the youths from their families does not address problems. Aggression Replacement Training is aimed at replacing the aggressive behavior among the youth with good behavior. Multi-Systemic Therapy uses the family to address the illegal behavior among the youths in the society. Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care is the practice of putting the young people in the foster families where they are taught the values that they are supposed to possess (Weissman, 2009).
Significant societal and individual benefits of imposing sanctions or punishments that do not involve removing an offender from his / her family or community.
The societal benefits of not imposing sanctions or punishments that do not involve removing an offender from his or her family or community include giving the community a chance to instill discipline among the young people in the society. It also enables the community to help in the restoration of justice and finding ways of dealing with crime. Most of the criminals may see the love that the people in the society have for them, which may make them avoid any wrongdoing hence leading a decrease in crime rates in society. Society is also able to see the positive attributes of the delinquents hence find ways of improving them for the benefit of the society in general (Weissman, 2009).
The individual benefits include the development of the self-esteem of the delinquents as they are allowed to pursue their best attributes. The improvement in self-esteem may be used in the elimination of criminal behavior that comes as a result of low self-esteem. Correcting the individuals within society enables them to learn how they are supposed to live with the people in the society. Being able to deal with the challenges that they face in the society makes the delinquents learn various methods that they can use to deal with the problems (Weissman, 2009).
Bhuller, M., Dahl, G. B., Løken, K. V., & Mogstad, M. (2020). Incarceration, recidivism, and employment. Journal of Political Economy, 128(4), 1269-1324.
Kihm, R. C., & Block, J. A. (1982). Response to a Crisis: Reducing the Juvenile Detention Rate in Louisville, Kentucky. Juv. & Fam. Ct. J., 33, 37.
Weissman, M. (2009). Aspiring to the impracticable: Alternatives to incarceration in the era of mass incarceration. NYU Rev. L. & Soc. Change, 33, 235.