In order to effectively eliminate the risks of relapse and by extension recidivism, the Treatment for Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC) should be more rigorously applied. TASC is a federally funded program calculated to break the “addiction-crime cycle” with respect to “nonviolent, drug-involved offenders” by combining “therapeutic interventions of drug treatment programs” with the appropriate “legal sanctions of the criminal justice system. ” (Gist, 1)
TASC involves a four-tiered approach to assisting offenders who have committed nonviolent offences and have substance abuse issues. (Gist, 1) First the “drug-involved offender” is identified with a view to ascertaining whether or not referral to a TASC “case management system” is appropriate. (Gist, 1) Secondly, the extent of and the needs of the drug-involved offender is evaluated as a means of determining his or her appropriate mode of treatment. Next, the offender is referred to the appropriate “treatment placement.
” (Gist, 1) Finally, the offender is subjected to “continuous case management” which includes intermittent urinalysis and reporting regimens. (Gist, 1) Since, prisons that implement the TASC model are provided with training and technical assistance from the US Department of justice, there is no reason why all prisons should not implement TASC models. e) Community Service Programs Community service programs function on the belief that restitution and hard labor complement each other.
(Samaha, 427) Community service commands the offender to work for the “benefit of the public” without compensation. (Samaha, 427) The utilitarian purposes are the repayment to the community (retribution) and that by working within the community the alongside law-abiding citizens would instill in the offender a general “sense of responsibility” (rehabilitation) (Samaha, 428) The expected outcome is that the offender is reformed and the risk of recidivism is reduced and ultimately prison overcrowding can be reduced. 1. Defender Based Advocacy (DBA)
Defender bases advocacy (DBA) programs are typically applied to juvenile delinquents and is primarily based on the theory that incarceration of the nation’s youth does more harm than good. (Bilchik, 1) The program works on a diversion basis where offenders are assessed early on and a determination is made based on the seriousness of the offence, antecedents of the offender and the likelihood of rehabilitation via alternatives to prison such as community service, probation, suspended sentencing and house arrest. (Bilchik, 1)
In order for DBA to have optimum results it will have to be more broadly and mandatorily applied in all criminal justice systems throughout the US. There is currently a marked propensity on the part of sentencing policies to send juveniles to youth correction institutions. (Macallair, 85) The rate at which previously incarcerated prisoners reoffend does not bode well for the nation’s youth with this sentencing policy. A more determined approach to ADA would contribute to a reduction in youth detention and as such overcrowding in prisons.
f) Reduce Length of Sentences Conventional wisdom dictates that the shorter the prison sentence, the more quickly prison space is freed up and thereby reduces the prison population at a faster pace. (Kuhn, 102) At the very least, it frees up space for incoming prisoners. (Kuhn, 102) Moreover, as long as prisons are overcrowded and conditions are such that prisoners suffer harmful physical and psychological consequences and are more likely to reoffend, the shorter the exposure to these harmful conditions the less likely the risk of reoffending.
Obviously short sentences are inappropriate in certain circumstances. For instances violent crimes and in cases where an offender has several antecedents, short sentences may not be appropriate. However, all non-violent crimes can be disposed of with a relatively short custodial sentence with early release on strict probation or community based services. In either case, retributive justice is achieved and rehabilitation can be better met outside the prison than inside an overcrowded institution with deteriorating conditions.