What Is Our Alternative Sentencing Program?

The Aleph Institute works with the courts to provide an effective and meaningful alternative to traditional incarceration. Programs like ours have emerged as a response to mass incarceration in the United States. There has been a growing acknowledgment that for some individual an alternate sentence is a more effective solution. We work to develop individualized restorative programs that allow individuals to continue to live at home and support their family.

Aleph’s Alternative Sentencing Program is presented as one option in court by the defense counsel. At the pre-sentencing and post-conviction level, Aleph Institute staff, attorneys, religious leaders, and educators intercede on behalf of eligible individuals. The alternatives incorporate retribution, financial restitution, deterrence, and rehabilitation while protecting the interests of the community as set forth in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The program has already successfully engaged participants from communities throughout Southwest Pennsylvania.

Our program seeks to assist individuals as they work to restructure their life. Alternative sentences help people make amends 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.  It is our goal that alternative sentencing practices will become widespread in Pittsburgh and around the country.

Alternative Sentencing Requirements

We intend to work with individuals from all faith backgrounds to provide a holistic approach to alternative sentencing. However, alternative sentencing is not always an option for everyone. Defendants that have committed a violent crime or drug offense may not be eligible for the program. Each applicant goes through a comprehensive risk and needs assessment in order to be considered for the program.