Support Alternative Sentencing for Non-Violent Criminals

Target: The United States Department of Justice

Goal: Have a rehabilitation system that actually rehabilitates by embracing alternative sentencing programs for non-violent criminals.

State and federal prisons are over crowded, draining state and national budgets that would be much more effective on more progressive programs, such as education. The fact that the United States accounts for 5% of the world’s population while housing 25% of the world’s prisoners proves that we are sending way to many non-violent offenders to prison. Whats worse is that a good portion of released non-violent criminals will become incarcerated again, exacerbating the problem of recidivism.

Studies have attested to the value of state efforts for rehabilitating drug offenders without incarceration. It has been proven that alternative sentencing programs actually rehabilitate more effectively for many first-time drug offenders (and non-violent offenders in general), such as California’s Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (SACPA), which utilized electronic monitoring (ankle bracelets, for instance) and GPS technology to punish drug offenders in the context of their natural environment. The study showed the cost effectiveness of electronic monitoring instead of incarceration (around $17 per day as opposed to $65 a day for incarceration). Unfortunately, many conservatives view this as being ‘too soft on crime’, leaving alternative sentencing programs underfunded regardless of their proven effectiveness. Alternative sentencing programs need to be embraced by legislators, not ignored because of age-old biases and beliefs.

It has been shown that alternative sentencing programs combat recidivism as well as an ever-growing prison population that continues to drain our national economy unnecessarily. Alternative sentencing must be written into legislation throughout the nation in order to actually rehabilitate while necessarily combating incarceration rates.

PETITION LETTER

Dear U.S. Department of Justice,

You must immediately address the ever-growing state and federal prison population. It is clear that almost half of prisoners are imprisoned for non-violent crimes and drug-related offenses on average nationwide. We continue to put non-violent offenders in violent environments, forcing them to become hardened and increasing the likelihood that they will return to prison, having not actually been rehabilitated.

The United States Department of Justice must empower itself and fund programs that support cost-effective alternative sentencing for non-violent criminals that are eligible. Rehabilitating a non-violent criminal in their natural environment has been shown to be much more effective at supporting positive changes within the individual as well as the prison system and the national budget. You can not let age-old stereotypes and ideologies about being ‘tough on crime’ blind people from what actually works.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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Signatures

  • Alper Arslan
  • Sharron Sample
  • Maya Leachman
  • Reginald Gldney
  • Erika Perez
  • Alicia Brooks
  • Paul Price
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