Essay Example on Community corrections is an alternative to standard incarceration punishment for crime








Community corrections is an alternative to standard incarceration punishment for crime Usually directed at less violent criminals community corrections directly enhances the safety of the public while further reducing recidivism rates The primary functions of community corrections are to evaluate the offender s proclivity to commit future crimes monitor convicted criminals progress and offering specific programs to assist the offender in not reoffending Cullen Johnson Mears 2017 Community correction initiatives can be community based programs and community endorsed services The community based era in American corrections occurred from approximately 1967 to approximately 1980 The idea of community based corrections is founded on the belief that the community is the source of most criminal s problems Therefore the reintegration of offenders should be focused on community assets During this era localized probation programs work release incentive programs and halfway houses multiplied throughout the United States Ortmeier 2006 These noninstitutional programs are focused on rehabilitation over punishment Community corrections consist of numerous criminological treatment programs which are designed from both scientific and sociological perspectives

These include counseling medication and many other types of interventions involving drug alcohol programs cognitive restructuring to prevent sexual crimes anger management and psychological treatment These practices can have very positive effects in the greater society Instead of standard incarceration punishment repeat offending and repetitive punishment community corrections aims to provide specific treatment and rehabilitation designed for each offender These programs can reduce prison costs engender ethical values among offenders prevent recidivism and significantly reduce death penalties and life sentences Therefore reduction of criminal behavior and mentality changes that occur within the offenders through community corrections has a constructive role in the society The birth of the community based era in America came with the distribution of the President s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice in 1967 No doubt dangerous criminals must be locked up until they no longer pose a threat to society Nevertheless for most offenders especially the juvenile or the first time and minor offender prison sentences can produce more problems than solutions United States 1967 The current incarcerate first approach to crime and punishment is not effective in the long term Changes must be made There are many distinct strengths to community corrections programs 

The first is a fiscal issue Comparatively most community based corrections programs cost significantly less than incarceration Further most offenders living in the community can financially provide for themselves and their families rather than a reliance by both offender and their family on the society for survival Petersilia 2001 Secondly community corrections programs are more flexible than incarceration Community based corrections can be used throughout the criminal justice process Sluder Sapp Langston 1994 Third prisons and jails are extremely overcrowded and dangerous Community corrections programs can ease jail and prison populations by allowing convicted offenders the chance to complete a community corrections program as a result saving money Sluder Sapp Langston 1994 Finally community corrections programs prevent exposing offenders to prison or jail where again they can be introduced to more problems than solutions Petersilia 2001 It is well known that a gap exists between what prisons are designed to achieve and what really happens Despite all the many advantages community corrections programs are not a panacea for all the issues facing America s corrections system Indeed community based corrections programs have disadvantages as well No public servant wishes to be responsible for under sentencing a threat to society

Rather many judges and prosecutors overuse community programs for offenders who don t necessarily require a high level of supervision or intervention rather than the ones the programs were designed for In doing so they place the criminal justice system in a vicious cycle of overcrowding Wodahl Garland 2009 Another disadvantage is that the safety of the public may be compromised As the offenders are in the public therefore they have easier means to continue criminal acts in public than those confined in prisons or jails Sluder et al 1994 Reform must address these legitimate fears and develop a system that reduces recidivism Individuals who commit serious and violent crimes should go to prison and these dangerous offenders should stay in prison until the risk that they are likely to cause further serious harm has been significantly reduced These offenders are not ideal candidates for a community sentence 

First time offenders of non violent drug crimes such as possession and even some smaller distribution offenders are usually good candidates Juvenile offenders in many cases are ideal candidates for community sentences Statistically women do not pose a significant threat of repeated violent crimes Therefore most women are likely candidates for community sentence programs Especially those sentenced for personal crimes such as prostitution Courts should look for offenders who show personal and social stability These candidates must be willing and motivated to rehabilitate and they should have no criminal history of violence Community sentencing can only be successful if the individuals on all sides of the programs are motivated The administrators must be specially trained and certified The offenders must be appropriately motivated The community America as a whole tends to be slow and often isolationist when dealing with major changes to the criminal justice system Instead of an overreliance on the current prison system America must drastically improve its community corrections services and framework With community sentencing society will benefit more in the long run since criminals especially juveniles are more likely to be rehabilitated

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