University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Sentencing Alternatives: Prison, Probation, Fines, and Community Service
In the recent years, use of other alternative options of sentences apart from incarceration is being advocated in United States and Canada among other countries as a way of solving the issue of congestion in prisons. Therefore, use of alternative sentencing will help in stabilizing the prison populations. Criminal sentencing should help in punishing and rehabilitating the criminal offenders so as to deter them from taking part in criminal activities again in the future. However, the prisons tend to focus more on punishing the offenders instead of rehabilitating them so as to change their behaviors. This reason has made the alternative sentencing options to be advocated so as to help in rehabilitating those offenders. Some alternative sentencing options which includes the punishments which are fairly innovative, involves requiring the offenders to stay at home under the house arrest, attending alcohol or drug treatment program, teaching classes or giving lectures concerning dangers of the criminal behavior, attending the weekend jail time, and installing the breathalyzer devices in personal cars, thus, ensuring that the cars only start when the offenders are not under alcohol influence(“Sentencing Alternatives: Prison, Probation, Fines, and Community Service,” 2014).
Such sentencing options have many practical implications such as reducing the populations in the prisons, cost savings and effectiveness among other implications. Religion also condemns all manner of criminal evils that are carried out by the offenders. According to the Christianity, the bible clearly explains various evils and also ways of deterring from carrying out those criminal activities. According to Matthew 15-18, it shows how God is unhappy by those who commit the criminal activities. It states that out of the heart there comes the adultery, theft, murder, slander, sexual immorality and false testimony. All these evils make a person be unclean. American society is usually perceived to be built on values of Judeo- Christian. Torah does not advocate for the prisons and therefore it perceives the alternative options of sentencing to be the ideal way of punishing and deterring the offenders from committing such criminal activities again (Lipskar, 2014). Even in the Bible the offenders even those who committed murder were not imprisoned. For instance, in the land of Israel those offenders who committed murder were usually sent to the cities of refuge not for isolation, but for atonement purposes (Miller, 2005).
In conclusion, the punishments of the criminal justice system should have positive results to benefit all the involved parties comprising of the victim, perpetrator and the society in general. Imprisonment does not serve the intended functions thus it does not benefit the victims. Prisons destroys families, inhibits the potential of the offenders, breeds anger, bitterness, insensitivity and the eventual recidivism (“Sentencing Options,” 2014). Therefore, innovative and alternative sentencing should be adopted as a way of solving all these problems which result due to the traditional sentencing.
Lipskar, R. S. (n.d.). Issues in Jewish Ethics: A Torah Perspective on Incarceration as a Modality of Punishment and Rehabilitation. A Torah Perspective on Incarceration as a Modality of Punishment and Rehabilitation. Retrieved September 11, 2014, from https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/prison.html
Miller, G. (n.d.). Why can’t God just forgive sin, instead of demanding justice?. Why can’t God just forgive sin, instead of demanding justice?. Retrieved July 4, 2005, from http://christianthinktank.com/whyjust.html
Sentencing Alternatives: Prison, Probation, Fines, and Community Service | Nolo.com. (n.d.). Nolo.com. Retrieved September 11, 2014, from http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/sentencing-alternatives-prison-probation-fines-30294.html
What Goals Are We Trying to Achieve Through Sentencing? . (n.d.). Sentencing Options . Retrieved September 11, 2014, from http://www.courtsanddwi.org/mod4-faq.pdf