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Alternatives to Incarceration

Incarceration is the act ofimprisoning criminals and offenders following court rulings in orderto maintain law and order in a society. The rate of incarcerationdiffers from one country to another due to differences in crimerates, social characteristics, and legal systems. The intent ofincarceration is to correct behaviour through confinement andpunishments. However, behaviour correction can be achieved throughalternative means. These include social constructs such asnegotiation, reconciliation, and rehabilitation programs. Criminalsmay also be punished through alternative forms such as penalties,restitution, and community service (Peak, 2012).

Negotiation is an out of courtprogram in which the two parties involved in a case come together andweigh their options. Through mediated debates and talks, the twoparties may reach an agreement hence settling the case out of court.Reconciliation is an imprisonment alternative used widely inclose-knit societies such as Sweden. It may involve public requestsfor forgiveness from the offender. If the offended accepts theapology, then he sets the offender free (DuPont-Morales et al.,2000). On the other hand, rehabilitation and correctional programshelp the criminals to create a better vision for their lives hencereducing the risk of repeat or serial offenders (Peak, 2012).Penalties and restitutions are monetary compensations that one paysin order to clear his name rather than saving a problem. Communityservice is also a positive form of punishment that enhances unitywithin a society.

Each of these alternatives isacceptable since they uphold community virtues. However, they may notuphold legal aspects due to corruption and manipulation. This isbecause there are no clear rules regarding such alternative methodsas negotiation and reconciliation. On the other hand, communityservice and rehabilitation have clear-cut rules and legal supporthence they are acceptable alternatives. Penalties and restitution areacceptable legal alternatives in most parts of the world(DuPont-Morales et al., 2000).


DuPont-Morales, M. Hooper, M. &ampSchmidt, J. (2000). Handbookof criminal justice administration. NewYork: CRC Press.

Peak, K. J. (2012). Justiceadministration: Police, courts, and corrections management (7th ed.).Upper Saddle River,NJ: Prentice Hall