3 Prison Sentence Alternatives

For many years, the logical punishment for committing a crime was jail time. Today, courts are taking a more proactive approach with non-prison sentences. These alternatives seek to change the person’s behavior in order to prevent future infractions. These four sentences only apply in certain cases, and it’s a judge’s discretion when they’re best used.

1. Court-Approved Classes and Programs

In cases of DUIs or other drug and alcohol related crimes, a court may require the person to enroll in addiction treatment. Other options may include anger management sessions or a decision making course. Completion of these programs will hopefully provide the individual with better strategies to manage their aggressive or inappropriate behavior.

2. Accountability Methods

One unique tactic that’s becoming more popular in some areas is the use of devices that help the person stay accountable to promises made during the court proceedings. For example, for DUI offenders, a breathalyzer may be installed in the person’s vehicle, and the car won’t start until he or she has passed the test. Another example might be house arrest; it can make sure the person does not leave the state during a trial.

3. Community Service

A community service sentence is effective in a few different ways. Not only does the chosen organization benefit from the extra help, but the perpetrator of the offense is often surrounded by a charitable environment and kind-hearted volunteers. When the alternative is a jail cell with potentially violent inmates, it’s easy to see which one the better influence is.

Those who perform court-ordered community service are also out in the public eye. This allows other young, impressionable minds to see the consequences of their actions.

Though some crimes may be severe enough to warrant jail time, these alternative methods may work well for those who commit minor offenses. There’s a better chance of rehabilitation, and it takes some strain off of the community jails.