skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 155210 Find in a Library
Title: Case for Alternatives to Prison
Corporate Author: Justice Fellowship
United States of America
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 28
Sponsoring Agency: Justice Fellowship
Washington, DC 20041
Sale Source: Justice Fellowship
P.O. Box 16069
Washington, DC 20041
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Because statistics indicate that imprisonment is a questionable deterrent to crime, and a case is made for alternatives to incarceration.
Abstract: The United States imprisons more people as a percentage of the population than any other country in the world, yet the United States has the highest crime rate in the Western world. While it is difficult to draw causal connections, it seems that increased imprisonment and longer prison sentences do not deter crime. Over half of U.S. inmates are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, but placing these inmates in prison can often be counterproductive. Further, studies indicate that two of every three released prisoners are rearrested within 3 years of their release. Building a new prison costs between $36,000 and $80,000 per bed. It costs taxpayers an additional $18,000 to keep one inmate in prison for 1 year. Alternatives to incarceration may be more effective than imprisonment, both for society and for the offender. Such alternatives may improve public safety, save taxpayer money, and offer more hope for rehabilitating offenders. They include restitution, community service, intensive supervision, fines, alcohol and drug treatment orders, work requirements, and reconciliation programs. The repeal of mandatory sentencing and habitual offender laws is recommended, as well as active citizen involvement in correctional reform.
Main Term(s): Corrections effectiveness
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Community service programs; Community-based corrections (adult); Correctional reform; Corrections costs; Courts; Deterrence; Drug treatment; Fines; Incarceration; Intensive supervision programs; Rehabilitation; Restitution
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.