The growing numbers of prisoners is leading to severe overcrowding in prisons and is resulting in prison conditions that breach international standards. Yet, there is little evidence that the increasing use of imprisonment is improving public safety. Imprisonment has also been shown to be counterproductive in the rehabilitation and reintegration of those charged with minor crimes, as well as for certain vulnerable populations. Imprisonment should not be taken for granted therefore as the natural form of punishment.
There are several important reasons for the primary focus to be upon alternatives that reduce the number of people in prison and for imprisonment to be used only as a last resort:
Implementing effective alternatives to imprisonment will reduce overcrowding and make it easier to manage prisons in a way that will allow states to meet their basic obligations to the prisoners in their care
Alternatives are far less expensive when compared to imprisonment
Alternatives are more effective in reforming and rehabilitating prisoners.
Panopticon Consulting believes that most of the objectives of imprisonment can be met more effectively through using alternatives to imprisonment. We work with criminal justice systems to: review existing non-custodial provisions; make recommendations for the development of non-custodial provisions; and to implement those recommendations. Our work focuses on alternatives to custody at three points in the criminal justice process: