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Alternative Sentences

Forced to face prison overcrowding and failed attempts at deterrence or rehabilitation, many professionals in the criminal justice system have encouraged “alternative sentencing,” which refers to any punishment other than incarceration. Most alternative sentences are really variations of probation, e.g., a fine and community service, along with a set period of probation. Some judges have gotten more creative in their sentencing. In many jurisdictions, convicted persons have been required to do the following:

  • install breathalyzer devices in their vehicles (“ignition interlocks”) to prevent their operation of the vehicle without blowing into the device to determine whether their breath is free of alcohol
  • carry signs which inform the community of their offense
  • stay at home under “house arrest”
  • complete alcohol or other drug treatment programs
  • attend lectures given by crime victims

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