ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION
E.M.U. SCHOOL OF POLICE STAFF AND COMMAND
Sergeant Shane Ptak
Ferndale Police Department Ferndale, MI
An applied research project submitted to the Department of Interdisciplinary Technology as part of the School of Police Staff and Command Program Class #16 September 19, 2003
ABSTRACT The Phrase “Alternatives to Incarceration” continues to attract both praise and criticisms from politicians, the public, the news media as well as criminal justice professionals. For years, the judicial system has complained about overcrowding and disparities within its jails and prisons. The push in the last few decades has been to find ways to deal with persons convicted of crimes and where to put them. Recent events in the United States have led to a number of calls for the abolition of conditional releases from prison. In support of their position, many parole abolitionists cite opinion polls that appear to show that the public is very dissatisfied with the parole system, not to mention with the judicial system as a whole. It doesn’t take a genius, nor does it take extensive research for one to realize that parole is our biggest alternative to incarceration. The purpose of this study was to find viable alternatives to incarceration. 1. Are their programs that will keep offenders out of prison and yet have the same or nearly the same effect on the offender as jail or prison would? 2. Are their alternatives than to keep offenders locked up indefinitely once inside jail or prison that will have the same or nearly the same effect as if they were still in jail or prison? 3. Are their programs that will deter crime before it happens? 4. Is Parole still a viable alternative after reviewing recidivism rates over the past decades? Results from these questions converge on the same conclusion: while the American public may be critical of the way that they perceive the judicial system to be
4 performing, there is nevertheless...