Alternative Sentencing Program
Alternatives to Imprisonment

Aleph works with the courts to provide alternatives to prison by providing rehabilitative programs while the offender continues to live at home and support his/her family.

It is a generally accepted principle that rehabilitation takes place more effectively outside of prison. Many probation officers, working in collaboration with private sector agencies, have the resources and skills necessary to maximize rehabilitative programs such as Aleph's. That in turn can help effect changes in root behavior.

A Pennsylvania probation official noted, "Many of today's successful initiatives are those which were created in local communities . . . We cannot fail to realize that the most effective approach is a community-based one to include local governments, school systems, the religious community, etc., in which strategies are shared and programs are rigorously monitored and evaluated."

The Aleph Alternative Sentencing Program (or diversion program) seeks to assist individuals as they restructure their lifestyles. The mandatory provisions of the program provide the framework for rehabilitation and treatment, and noncompliance is not tolerated. This program has long been recognized as one of the most progressive and realistic in the country. Talking at a Re-Entry conference in 2015, Judge Joy Flowers Conti, Justice of the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania, stated, "Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel and the Aleph Institute understand and force us to face the fact that each person deserves to be treated with respect as an individual personality and not as an integer, a faceless number. There are many talented people in our religious communities of all faiths and in the community who can assist us in dealing with criminals."

Legislative bodies and executive branch members have also applauded Aleph's work in this area. Governor Lawton Chiles, (D) Florida, says, "The many problems in our system cannot be addressed by simply building more prison beds. One of the keys of an effective Department of Corrections will be . . . great emphasis on alternatives to incarceration. Organizations such as the Aleph Institute will be key to any community-based programs."

The Aleph Alternative Punishment Program is presented as one option in court by the defense counsel. It is a proven option that incorporates retribution, financial restitution, deterrence, rehabilitation and protects the interests of the community as set forth in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. At the pre-sentencing and post-conviction level, Institute staff, attorneys, rabbis and educators intercede on behalf of approximately 100 Jewish individuals annually.

In addition to this program, Aleph performs a variety of professional services including:
  • Preparing alternative punishment proposals and sentencing departure strategies
  • Presenting expert testimony in court
  • Evaluating individuals for evidentiary purposes
  • Discussing administration actions with the Bureau of Prisons
  • Resolving religious discrimination complaints
  • Developing Rule 35 strategies
  • Making presentations at Parole Commission Hearings
  • Supervising individuals who have been released into the community.
At a sentencing hearing in Miami Federal Court, June 1990, the Honorable Judge Thomas E. Scott, U.S. District Court for the Southeastern District, utilized an Aleph proposal as a framework for sentencing one of our clients, who was facing incarceration under the Guidelines. He noted that the proposal was "very impressive. I have reviewed countless alternatives during my years on the bench. This is one that is realistic.” Aleph must, and will, continue to offer its resources to help rehabilitate and acclimate individuals who would otherwise be imprisoned.

At a sentencing hearing in 1998 in Springfield, Massachusetts, Judge M. Rupp said of Aleph's Alternative sentencing program, "I know The Aleph Institute and their Alternate Sentencing Program, and I look forward to working with it."