A recent NPR article highlights the growing push, even amongst initially resistant states, for alternatives to detention.
The piece focuses primarily on Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate in the country.
There, a growing bipartisan group of politicians are encouraging the use of alternative to detention programs like drug courts, work release and reentry programming.
As the article states, the push for change is coming at a time when the number of Americans behind bars is declining and the entire country is watching as California works to reduce its prison population under the landmark AB 109 legislation.
Alternative to detention programs like the reentry programs run by GEO Reentry Services not only save money, they help to combat prison overcrowding by reducing the prison population and lowering the risk of recidivism.
Alternative to detention programs do not work to replace the need for incarceration, but work to complement prison programs, as not all offenders are determined to be good fits for programs such as the day reporting centers managed by GEO Reentry.
However for candidates that qualify, reentry programming is a smart, cost-effective way to successfully prepare pre- and post-release offenders and offenders sentenced to the programming in lieu of prison time for their reentry back into society.
Reentry programming helps participants stay crime-free by targeting the source of the criminal behavior through behavioral therapy and, in some cases, substance abuse treatment. As the NPR article indicates, substance abuse is often linked with criminal activity, so in combating substance abuse you can also combat criminal tendencies.
Participants are also required to take life skills classes, including GED-prep, college prep and job interview techniques, as studies have found that a steady source of income is a large deterrent to falling back into criminal activity.
The United States Department of Justice has pushed for an emphasis on reentry programs under Attorney General Eric Holder and GEO Reentry works with agencies across the nation to provide successful, evidence-based programming.
You can learn more about how day reporting centers work here.