Alternatives to Incarceration
Encourage and support positive approaches to punishment that build hope, responsibility and a sense of belonging. Prisons should be the sentence of last resort, reserved for violent criminals. Those convicted of non-violent offenses should be handled by alternative, community-based programs including halfway houses, work-furlough, community service, electronic monitoring, restitution, and rehabilitation programs.
Treat substance abuse as a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Free all non-violent incarcerated prisoners of the drug war. Provide treatment to parolees and probationers who fail a drug test instead of re-incarceration.
Release prisoners with diagnosed mental disorders to secure mental health treatment centers. Ensure psychological and medical care and rehabilitation services for mentally ill prisoners.
Release prisoners who are too old and/or infirm to pose a threat to society to less expensive, community-based facilities.
Make reduction of recidivism a primary goal of parole. Treat parole as a time of reintegration into the community, not as a continuation of sentence. Provide community reentry programs for inmates before their release. Provide access to education, addiction and psychological treatment, job training, work and housing upon their release. Provide counseling and other services to the members of a parolee's family, to help them with the changes caused by the parolee's return. Prevent unwarranted search without reasonable cause to parolees and their homes.
Increase funding for rape and domestic violence prevention and education programs.
Never house juvenile offenders with adults. House violent and non-violent juvenile offenders separately. Continue the education of juveniles while in custody. Substantially decrease the number of juvenile's assigned to each judge and caseworker to oversee each juvenile's placement and progress in the juvenile justice system.
Incarceration is a uniquely American crisis, but it does not operate in a vacuum - it intersects with poverty and racism and undercuts the economic mobility of vulnerable communities. It is not an equally felt crisis, with the majority of its harm felt by black and brown Americans, who unjustly make up 31% of America’s population but 56% of prisoners. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley's People’s Justice Guarantee is a comprehensive piece of legislation designed to end the injustices in the system