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Alternatives to Prison for

Punishment and Rehabilitation

Published: 18th April, 2018 Last Edited: 18th April, 2018

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Assess the alternative to prison in dealing with offenders

Crime has always been prevalent in the myriad spheres of our society and
will never cease to exist. To combat crimes, methods have been derived to
deter these depending on the gravity of the crime itself. The graver the
crime the graver the punishment. These methods can prove to be
inefficient. In this eventuality new ways must be thought and implemented
for a safer and better community at large. Imprisonment has been used
since a very long time ago and still used as a mean to deter and punish law
breakers and again the worse the deeds, the greater the time of
imprisonment. This method present many objectives and is most widely
used, it keeps people guilty of a crime under strict control before their case
is presented at the court of justice and act as a punishment as their
freedom is snatched once they are convicted. Moreover it prevents them
from committing more crimes. It also plays the role of a rehabilitation
center that is the person leads a better life and is able to reintegrate the
society. Finally it protects the public from them.(stern V 2006)

However, these objectives are not always met by the mean of incarceration.
As Professor Angela Davis (Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City
University) puts it, prisons are obsolete. She votes for a “decarceration” and
believes that the era of imprisonment has come to an end because often
prisoner are those who suffer from racism and sexism, (Wikipedia, Angela

Moreover incarceration marginalizes the offenders, keeping them away

from the social interactions of their formerly everyday life and this will
create a sense of alienation which will further encourage criminal
behavior.(William bales 2011)

Evidence shows that, imprisonment further criminalise the offenders where

they get indulged in more serious crimes where all they did was a
misdemeanor. Often in the prison environment drug dealing takes place
and non drug addicts become prey to temptations. Moreover wrong
frequentations of notorious criminals make them divert to a world full of
crime where they collude with them. Furthermore, the transmission of HIV
and other diseases are prevalent there and this is alarming.(William bales

Prisoner usually comes from poor environment where they are poverty
stricken , unemployed and indulged in drug and alcohol activities and they
commit crimes because of their illiteracy.

Therefore in the light of the above, it is concluded that imprisonment is not

the only possible means of deterring crimes.

The justice policy institute concluded the crime rate has gone down since
the states has put fewer person in prison. As prison population fell by 0.2% ,
a 6% drop in violent crime was noticed. These figures show that keeping
fewer prisoners could have a positive effect on the safety of the
public.(heather C west 2010)

There are many alternatives to prison. But the gravity of the action
committed by the offender should be taken into consideration.

Firstly the fine. this is a monetary amount to be paid by the convict and this
amount again depends on the gravity of the action committed and the
economical status of him.Usually fines are paid for small offences such as
speeding fines but for atrocious crimes it does not apply because it will be
unfair to let the criminal free in the society.Compensation also is a type of
fine paid to the family of the victims.(matt faye 2010)
Secondly probation. The offender is active in the society but he is under
constatant monitoring by a probation officer.The offender is given a
restricted area where he can go and if he refrains to do so, then he may be
imprisoned. This alternative is flexible and is used in the Wales.(matt,faye

With technology the use of electronic monitoring is now possible.this

technology is very practical and requires obligatory supervision.the convict
wears ankle bracelets which is connected to a gps (global positioning
satellite system) which gives the exact location of him.This costs 6 times
lesser than imprisonment and reduces offenders risk by 31%.this study was
conducted in Florida where more than 5000 offenders were
supervised.(William bales 2011)

Thirdly Capital Punishment.This type of punishment is the most finite

type.The talion law an eye for eye a tooth for a tooth. Murderers forgo their
rights as human when they take someone else’s life.Many more innocent
person have been killed by released paroled murderers than people
executed.Capital punishment is 100% effective as a deterrent because the
murderer cannot kill again.

It can also deter other crimes , a 1985 study (Stephen K. Layson, University
of North Carolina) showed that 1 execution deterred 18 murders.(Wikipedia

Moreover this will cut the cost of prisons will also be reduced.

Fourthly, Suspended Sentences.the offender in not imprisoned but follows

certain conditions.This system is used in overcrowded prisons where the
offender must not commit any offence for a set amount of time. The
offender is also supervised by a probation officer by this time.(stern v 2006)

Community measures.

The offender is required to do community works entirely or partially in

prison. The work is unpaid. Normally some cleaning or maintenance.

Rehabilitation, the convicts is allowed to follow some treatment(drug and

alcohol addicts).Often those people commits crime and this can stop with
proper rehabilitation facilities. Finding drug treatments to them will reduce
the number of addicts in the prisons and is a suitable alternative too.(stern
V 2006)

Juvenile Crimes .Child crime is different from adult crime. In most legal
systems the offenders are not deemed to be fully functioning as moral
agents. Thus, the best way to handle them is through rehabilitation rather
than punishment.correction centres should be made for children beyond
control instead of imprisoning them.(Wikipedia

Crime committed by mentally ill offenders should not be punished by the

means of incarceration because the latter is not conscious of what he/she is
doing. Instead they should be conducted to a psychiatric centre to get

For these alternatives to be implemented,the convicts must follow a set of

guidelines and must imperatively follow it.otherwise they will be
imprisoned.some right are also restricted for them such as they won’t be
allow to go to places where they want to go.


Alternative ways to prisons is a good thing while the offender respect the
set of guidelines given.If the single bread earner of a family is jailed then
the whole family is crippled and will fade into the darkness of poverty. if a
mother is imprisoned then the child will lack maternal love and this can turn
the child into a criminal.on a conclusive note it is better considering the
condition where the person committed the crime. if a person commits a
theft out of pleasure or greed he deserves the maximum punishment else if
because of poverty then trainng programs can be offered.