Kit Vanden Heuvel
July 31, 2011
Community corrections address many complex issues that plague the criminal justice system in the United States. Many alternatives have come to fruition in an attempt to decrease incarceration, rehabilitate offenders, lower crime rates, reduce recidivism, and control costs. We currently lead all other nations in producing prisoners. Community corrections could put us in a more positive and productive position of leadership. 2.3 Million!?
“Indeed the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive approach to crime and punishment (Adam Liptak, 2008).” Many of these prisoners would not face incarceration in other countries for their offenses. Non-violent and other less serious offenses often lead to lengthy and expensive incarceration. Minor drug-related offenses would be an example of those who would be alternately directed to community corrections. These offenders make up a large percentage of those incarcerated in the United States. Correction professionals in other nations are bewildered and shocked by the amount of lengthy incarcerations for these types of offenses in the United States. A comparison between China and the United States helps put this in perspective. China has four times the population of the United States. They have about 1.5 million prisoners compared to about 2.5 million here. Surely we must consider community corrections for at least some offenders. Locking every offender up has never proven to decrease crime rates. We need to do a risk assessment for many of them if we want rehabilitation and a decrease in recidivism. Supervision in the community is less expensive and much more productive. Prison is a waste of time for those who can be rehabilitated. The idle time and corrupt influence of the career criminals behind bars will breed more criminal behavior for those who...