Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 2.56.45 PM.png    While incarceration is necessary in some cases for public safety, locking up nonviolent offenders costs the community money without providing a long-term solution. The alternative of safely supervising certain offenders in the community, while allowing them to remain with their families, employed and contributing to society can address the country’s costly addiction to incarceration. Our Alternative Sentencing Program develops unique and individualized programs for each case. We work with the offenders, the court, and the community to keep participants moving forward towards being positive and productive  members of their communities.

Monetary Savings for the Community 
    The Vera Institute of Justice published a report in 2016 showing that while Pennsylvania’s prison population has decreased by 0.5%, prison spending has increased by 22.3%.  Pennsylvania ranks as the 8th highest in inmate costs in the United States with a cost of $42,727 per year per inmate. In 2015, the PA prison population was 50,366, which resulted in over 2 billion dollars spent on incarceration. With such a large allocation of funds citizens should demand the most effective practices for public safety.  Incarceration is necessary in some cases, but has proved to be inefficient for nonviolent offenders. This money should be used to strengthen and build up communities.

Source: Moorehouse, E. (2018).“The True Cost of Incarceration in Pennsylvania: Corruption at the Heart of America’s Private Prison System.”  Bullentin.Represnt.Us.

     The ACLU’s report, “At America’s Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly,” finds that Americans fifty years and older are a population with a relatively low risk to public safety, but with high cost to keep locked up. Our prison system currently imprisons 246,600 Americans fifty and older. It costs $34,135 per year to imprison the average prisoner, but $68,270 per year to imprison a prisoner fifty years of age and older. Many of the clients of Aleph’s Alternative Sentencing program are members of this population.
    Aleph’s Alternative Sentencing Program is a cost saving and efficient alternative to incarceration. Halfway houses, work release programs, house arrest, and day reporting programs are much lower cost to operate, so local, state and federal governments can invest in other programs such as victim services and addiction treatment. Aleph and other nonprofits can help ease the burden on the criminal justice system and eventually generate savings for taxpayers. Our Alternative Sentencing Program is a humane, cost-effective approach to reducing crime in our communities.

Strengthening Bonds

    Alternative sentencing lets offenders remain in the community, where they can continue to work, take care of their loved ones and make a contribution to society.The role of the family is essential as it provides a feeling of belonging and support, both in practical and emotional ways.
Incarceration is destructive to families because when one individual serves, their family serves too. For many, the financial and emotional toll of visiting can be too high. Children of incarcerated parents have higher levels of delinquent behavior and involvement in the juvenile justice system. They also have higher levels of depression symptoms and behavior problems. The solutions provided by our program allow individuals to be closer to their families, friends, and communities and work to build these strong bonds rather than lose them.
    Our program prevents family breakdown and this preservation of family bonds can help avert recidivism. The Urban Institute’s studies on reentry found that prisoners with higher levels of family support had higher rates of employment following release, and lower rates of recidivism.
     Alternative sentences help people make amends and by serving the community through volunteering. Restorative justice approaches such as these emphasize repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior in a way that benefits the community. Community service provides an opportunity for the offender to see first-hand the indirect injuries caused by his/her offense.

As 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."