Because of the war on drugs, prison overcrowding is vastly becoming a problem of astronomical proportion, putting a strain not only on the system of law enforcement, but on citizens as well. With studies in DNA and other forensic sciences that can pin point with exact precision the perpetrator of a crime; more and more criminal offenders are being caught, tried, and imprisoned for the crimes they have committed. Many of these crimes are initiated by the use of drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ice, crystal meth, angel dust, PCP, etc. Along with the success of catching these offenders and sentencing them to pay retribution for their crimes, another problem has surfaced—prison overcrowding. Because of this overcrowding, a shift to community-based alternatives has been incorporated in an effort to help to alleviate this ever increasing problem. This paper will examine a few of these alternatives.
Community Based Alternatives
With the rise in incarcerating a felon, the court system is trying to find alternative based sentencing. It is a hard task, because of the variety of crimes committed. If a person does not need to go to prison and deal with that lifestyle, then utilizing something else may be more beneficial. Here are some ideas for community based alternative sentencing.
Electronic Monitoring System (EMS)
The first alternative that we will look at is being utilized by the courts: Electronic Monitoring System (EMS). This system might seem as though it would be the ideal answer to alternative sentencing, however, as with any electronic device there are drawbacks. This system is easy to monitor, but bulky to wear. Most of the courts do not like to implement this system because of the cost of monitors and tracking systems. There is also the fact that the person wearing the monitor must maintain a semi-constant contact with a phone line. Another problem, that has been difficult to overcome, is the monitor’s alarm going off, even though the person is no more that twenty feet from the phone line. Even with the cost and problems it is still cheaper to utilize the EMS rather than incarcerating the criminal. There is another product on the market that could replace the EMS altogether and that is the Shadow Track.
The Shadow Track is an interactive voice respons...
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...ld Wide Web, on June 28, 2003, says it best, “Society has other alternatives to decreasing crime than simply locking people in prison. Preventative programs focus on the community, school, family, employment and places. In addition, there are rehabilitation and restorative justice programs that can also be used to decrease crime. Prisons are the only alternatives we hear about from politicians because of the notion that prisons are ‘tough on crime.’ In reality, the method that reduces crime the most is the ‘toughest on crime,’--and many research studies demonstrate prisons are not the best alternatives.”
Better Alternatives Other Than Control and Punishment. Retrieved June 28, 2003, from the
World Wide Web: http://
Shadow Track, Oakwood Village, Ohio 44146
Community Corrections Association – North Dakota. Retrieved June 28, 2003, from the
World Wide Web: http://
Center for Community Alternatives. Retrieved June 28, 2003, from the World Wide
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