An alternative to incarceration refers to punishments given to those who have committed a crime other than spending time in prison. The criminals are punished away from prison. However, the criminals are supervised by the court or the community. There are various agencies in the United States which utilize an alternative to incarceration for some reasons. One of such agencies is Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)
The company employs drug court system as an alternative to incarceration. Drug court systems are a particular branch which is created within the existing judicial system to provide treatment and monitor criminals who are addicted to various narcotics. The drug court has been established in over 50 states in the US. However, the federal system does not have drug courts. The drug courts serve both adults and juveniles. Besides, there are those who provide family treatment. The family treatment courts allow parents to reunite with their siblings or children.
The drug courts vary from one state to another. However, they have standard requirements that the offenders must meet. Such requirements include random or continuous urine test, meet probation officers regularly and attend various counseling sessions on drug treatment. Furthermore, the offenders are required to report to the court on a regular basis and inform the court on their progress. The courts also reward offenders who are discipline and have shown success. However, those who are indiscipline or have failed to live to the expected obligations are sanctioned.
Drug courts provide various benefits to the offenders and the states. An alternative to incarceration reduces cases of drug use among the offenders since they are regularly monitored. Besides, they reduce cases of criminal activities and restore lives of drug addicts. For instance, the Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) supports and utilizes drug courts system for various reasons. Firstly, it allows the government to save the tax payers money. Operating drug courts are less expensive than the prison system. Drug courts system reduces overcrowding in the prisons and preserves the country of the funds it could have spent to rehabilitate the drug addicts in jail. Secondly, drug courts reduce chances of crime in the society. For instances, over 40% of people who live prison in the United States always do re-offend and get back to prison within three years. Drug court system reduces the chances of committing a crime since the offenders are closely monitored. Lastly, the drug court system strengthens family and community ties since the offenders are not separated from the members of their family. On the other hand, offenders who are in prison are separated from members of their families for a long time. Drug courts allow offenders to have time with their families, continue with their jobs and earn income. Besides, they pay taxes and contribute to the public development.
However, there are certain risks associated with drug courts. The drug courts systems have faced opposition from the police and the prosecutors. Correctional systems and other traditional treatment centers have also been threatened with the establishment of several drug court systems in the United States. This is because the government has shifted the funds from these institutions to the drug courts. The members of the community also believe that the drug courts are soft on criminals and they do not receive the expected punishment. The increase in the number of drug court systems in the United States may also force them to revert to the traditional modes which may be difficult to maintain. There is also a belief that the drug courts do not eliminate criminal behavior and substance abuse. As such, it can protect some hardcore criminals.
http://famm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/FS-Alternatives-in-a-Nutshell-7.8.pdf Retrieved on 11/04/2017