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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74099 Find in a Library
Title: Developing Criteria for Alternatives to Incarceration
Author(s): J McGaha
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 37
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: On the premise that present incarceration methods have failed as social control, this paper presents alternatives to the criminal justice system and to incarceration; selection and measurement criteria; a typology of possible alternatives; and brief descriptions of some existing programs.
Abstract: Advocating social control through Human Responsibility Enhancement strategies, the recommendations involve fundamental systemic change and creative approaches that might eliminate the cycle of increased prisons and sentencing which perpetuates crime and violence. Among the 20 criteria for selection of alternatives are reserving incarceration as a last resort, treating root causal factors, addressing the needs of victims, and involving all affected groups--ex-offenders, offenders, community groups, and others in the planning process. Representative alternatives are of seven types--(1) decriminalization, (2) pretrial, (3) postadjudicative, (4) least incarceration, (5) prerelease and early release, (6) maximum security classification, and (7) exoffender re-entry. In addition, some actual programs consistent with the criteria for alternatives to incarceration are described, including negotiation of warrants, neighborhood conflict resolution, filed release citation programs, community service sentences, halfway houses, and a number of alternatives to detention of juveniles. Recommendations for a society-wide approach to implementation of these objectives are also offered. They involve the establishment in each jurisdiction of an Alternatives Policy and Program Commission, charged with the translation of the viable alternatives concept from policy into programmatic action. Sixteen references are included.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Correctional reform; Decriminalization; Incarceration; Juvenile court diversion; Prerelease programs; Sentencing reform
Note: Paper presented at the Western Society of Criminology Conference, Newport Beach (CA), February 29, 1980
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