Alternative Sentencing

When someone is convicted of a crime there is a generalized initial thought from people, which is prison. There are other options besides prison that aren’t talked about enough. In Michigan some of which include in-patient treatment, work release, rehabilitation, probation, etc. There are multiple programs that are specified for certain situations. The many alternative sentencing options can reduce recidivism, which is the idea of re-incarceration. As well as benefit to society as a whole by reducing criminal activity, which makes our countries society simpler. Alternative sentencing can also reduce prison costs and the population numbers within a prison.

Michigan had an over-reliance in confinement by the end of 2017, these statistics are most likely still relevant to today’s prisons. Approximately 40,000 people were incarcerated that were mentally ill according to Safe and Just Michigan. Mental health disorders are one of the leading causes of criminal activity. People with mental disorders have a lost sense of reality, an altered idea of what is “normal” and have a confused idea of propriety within society. There are more appropriate and better fitting ways to treat these defendants instead of prison sentencing. If a defendant committed a crime due to their mental illness, then being in confinement with no treatment will not be beneficial to them individually and to American society. The defendants that fit into the category of a mental disorder need to receive a type of therapy, medication, or hospitalization to prevent them from committing another crime in the future; that is just one way that our country can reduce recidivism.

Delayed and deferred sentencing is a decision made by the judge that changes based on factors about the defendant and the circumstances of the case. When a case is delayed, it can benefit to the criminal and the criminal’s defense attorney. It gives each of them more time to evaluate their case, and research other options besides standard sentencing. When a defendant is deferred, they have the ability to, “Complete a probationary period before being sentenced” (Freedman law group).  If a probation period is completed a judge will review their case and will have the ability to dismiss their case.

Rehabilitation is an important resolution to drug related crimes. A drug court is a specialized type of court that their  main focus is to prevent recidivism and relapse. Rehab instead of jail time allows defendants to start their journey to recovery.

Some specific programs in Michigan:

Special Alternative Incarceration in Michigan (SAI)

This is an incarceration facility that allows the incarcerated to attend a boot camp. They participate in military like exercise, treatment, and education prior to actual supervision. Usually lasts about 90-days and focuses on changing someone’s behavior from negative to socially acceptable. This program can alter criminal’s attitudes and provide them with positive values.

Community safety through local solutions

Programs that are community-based solutions are effective and still prioritize community safety. These programs direct criminals away from the criminal justice system but still apply to the criminals needs.

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