JPay Blog

Alternative Courts Can Transform Offenders, Not Just Punish Them

With traditional sentencing methods proving ineffective, there are now more than 2,800 “problem-solving” courts nationwide designed to address the root causes of the arrest-imprisonment-and-re-arrest cycle for juveniles, veterans, the mentally ill, drunk drivers, etc. Studies are showing that graduates of these specialized programs have fewer relapses than individuals who are simply given probation or prison.

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33 Comments

  1. MICHELE

    June 11, 2016 - 5:24 pm

    my husband has been sitting in craf facility in Trenton ,N.J since April 2016 he has been in jail for almost 2years for v.o.p. due to getting high.

  2. E

    June 3, 2016 - 9:09 am

    Go onto A Nation of Change and start petitions. Maybe we will get enough support to start changing the system. The only problem is, that people on the outside that has never committed a crime do not like people who have. The first thing a politician says when he wants to get elected is “I will be tough on crime”. People do need a second chance. There needs to be true programs that help these people. As many have said on here that there is suppose to be a rehabilitation in effect. I do not know of anyone who has had that happen? When people get out, they are labeled like the Ole Scarlet Letter. They cannot even get a menial job. Their past follows them no matter what crime they have done. the system does need to change as it is a revolving door.

  3. Antony Dunlap

    May 13, 2015 - 1:17 pm

    My son is incarcerated in Ky has been for 8 yrs. was originally told in court that sentence would be treated as non violent offender and could serve less than required 85%. is wrtiien in court room transcript of sentencing. was never done, went up for parole today after serving 85% and was denied 1st time offender. was eighteen when sentenced.new release date is 5/20 2016 or could go to 1/8/2017. could you help get him Home incarceration, halfway house or earlier release. thank you

  4. Jody fair

    May 12, 2015 - 12:49 pm

    I think the system is for politics to get into office or to stay in office .our kids are not just a number. they can send billions of dollars to other country’s but they can’t help our own they need to help these kids get jobs and get off the streets .make these places hire them give them a chance .most of them would not go back if they could get descent jobs and the crime rate would go down

    Good luck

  5. Constance Lee

    May 9, 2015 - 8:58 pm

    To Deborah Pinson…keep on fighting for your dad…dont ever give up…get online research EVERYTHING…keep filing appeals…try to hire a better attorney…just dont give up. Good luck you and your father are in my prayers. God uses us for whatever purpose he needs…as unfair as it may be, this may be a place where God can use him to help other people…we just never really know. God Bless.

  6. Tim Decker

    May 7, 2015 - 8:09 pm

    Well to all the people here that are concerned about their love ones. Everyone of us should go to the dockets and learn. Learn more of the Law in each of the cases. The more you learn the better you are to help your love ones. It is a painful process But we are spending too much time grieving about it, when we all could read up on the processes. But in no way are we Lawyers but we are better prepared to see a Lawyer. Thus we can bring with us letters and notes, take notes and such. Make most of your high paying Lawyers work for their money. Stay stead fast in helping your love ones, But be stern. You can be helpful. Get mad, but with Love in your hearts. Tell them you will try to help them but your not going to supply them. As long as they are trying and seeking help through the courts then help them. Even give them a day off for relaxing their minds. If you can’t get Justice, then take Justice to the media. But have supporters. The media doesn’t listen unless some one in power reports it. But remember Justice is tricky as in the court of Law. You need to get up and play detective, if you know without a doubt that they are innocent. And tell your children to tell you the truth but be willing to help them. Tough love is when someone comes to you and tells you they have hurt someone. They can be forgiven, but they need to turn themselves in. Let them know you still care for them. Talk to them through prisons. Tell them to read and to help others in prison. At the same time change our punishment system. “We the people” are the ones who can change the prison systems to help inmates acquire a appropriate place to live and a job to help pay back others or the court system if any fines exist. tell your love one to report to their probation officer on time. No excuses. But please do not yell at them. Love them but with tough love. They can’t have everything they want. We can help them acquire it by a little discipline.

  7. Deborah Pinson

    May 6, 2015 - 1:12 pm

    How can I help my 76 yr old father. He got a life sentence in Texas for something that he didn’t do. He has been in prison since 1999
    and have to know what I can do.

  8. Kim Stephenson

    April 19, 2015 - 9:34 am

    My son is soon to be 29 in December and has been in out of the PA prison system since he was 12! He’s an addict, not a criminal but they incarcerate him with hard core criminals with no hope for rehabilitation. I’ve written parole boards, probation boards, mayors, governors, etc. All to no avail! I get “form” letters back. I don’t think they even read my letters pleading that my son get the true help he needs. Prison has been a revolving door for him when what he really needs is help with his drug addiction. As I get older, I too fear that I very well may pass on with my son still in prison. The plight is rather frightening! And if/when my son is released, the Commonwealth will leave it up to me to rehabilitate him. What if I’m not here? He’s certainly learned how to be a criminal in and out of this damn system! He was so young and “innocent”. Started with a joint and ended with far bigger troubles! But the parole officers and judges just keep locking him up instead of offering an alternative program. I was willing to even pay for it.

  9. Rogena Crow

    April 8, 2015 - 6:46 pm

    My daughter is 23 and is a first offender in South Carolina and she is eligible or should be for both YOA and Shock Incarnation but we keep getting so jerked around. The prison says the judge has to do it the judge says it had to be done at the time of sentencing. We are told so many different things and it seems like no one knows what’s going on or how to get in the program. We were never even told about any alternative programs. Our legal system is very frightening. If anyone has been able to get themselves or a loved one in one of these programs please please will u help me find out what I can do. I am desperate and discouraged……

  10. for those who are treated lesser than those

    April 7, 2015 - 10:31 pm

    My husband is incarnated in Pennsylvania, do you have a program available there? It seems we have less privileges than any other state, no family and/or conjugal visits can’t even get jp4 for him or video visits so if there a way to get done form of help for him where my kids and I can at least see him I would appreciate it, I can’t even visit he’s too far away.

  11. DIANN MARSHALL

    March 28, 2015 - 1:43 pm

    If there is a program out there that can help my son who has been in prison, since he turn eighteen. The system fail my son{guilty before proven innocent}given life without parole on the word of here say, my sister son was threaten 30 years if he didn’t cooperate with law. another guy was let out of jail, if he cooperated, and others was threaten by the law. my son was not pick in the photo line. The witness walk into court , look at my son, then she said it was him. His paper work some how gotten lost,my son didn’t have a fair trial.

  12. Cheryl Hickman

    March 11, 2015 - 12:31 pm

    What is the name of the program? How do you join? Is it available in OHIO?? I have been praying and looking for a way to help my son for the last 20 YEARS. It really is sad how this system works. I need to find a way to help him before he is in prison & I die while he is there. He just went thru the loss of his grandmother which was like a mother to him. They get out and have no means of chance at life as they can’t find decent paying job to find affordable housing. They aren’t eligible for income based housing so they just get lost in life again & again and the revolving doors start with the prisons.

  13. Jerry Sharp

    March 4, 2015 - 6:01 pm

    How can I find a Pro Bono lawyer for my brother in prison ? None of our family has the money to get one, even though we have proof that my brother’s innocent via deposition and caracter refferences.

  14. Sylvia Sims

    February 23, 2015 - 11:40 am

    My son also has mental emotional problems. Supposedly there was a system in the Forsyth County system for their kind. But the public defender didn’t try that system because he didn’t get him evaluated. Wish the so called justice system was just that but it is not. Wish there were programs available like a watch dog group with the ability to call someone about it. I hope that all of us make it through this horrible experience.

  15. Editor

    February 6, 2015 - 10:17 am

    Hi Carmer –

    You can also connect with others on the JPay Forum. Please visit the following website at http://forum.jpay.com/forum.php. On the homepage, click on “register now” on the top right corner of the page to get registered and post to various forums and find ways to help your son.

    Have a nice day!

  16. Carmer H.

    February 6, 2015 - 9:58 am

    What is the name of the program? How do you join? I have been praying and looking for a way to help my son for the last six years. It really is sad how this system works. I need to find a way to help him.

  17. Spencer

    February 5, 2015 - 12:18 pm

    I’m with you guys 100%. There are so many social problems that can be resolved in a mild and settling way, before they get worse. I hope the program has a long and useful life.

  18. Brenda Patton

    January 29, 2015 - 9:11 am

    I firmly believe that the prison system in Texas is not helping in any way to help our locked-up boys and girls get a fresh start in life (after they do the time). Where is the rehabilitation part? Coming out of a horrible situation, everyone is looking on them as if they are aliens. There are also stipulations about getting into college in prison. How can we help our inmates? People are mad for being in there, and some, once released, have a chip on their shoulder…How can we change this? Let’s stick together and get a solution. WE CAN DO THIS….

  19. Arnita Hilton

    January 21, 2015 - 10:18 am

    I am not sure what program everyone is talking about because I am an ex-offender and when I was locked up I tried to get into several different things to help me for a better future and I was turned away because of the following excuses: I either did not qualify because I did not have a high school diploma or a GED, and when I tried to get the GED I was told I had too much time. Really? And they say these places are to rehabilitate! I have male friends that are in the system and have a few more years to go and encounter the same treatment as it was 5 years ago when I was in. Everyone makes mistakes as no one is perfect. If these prisons would put as much effort into rehabilitation for these guys as they do in trying to make them feel less than human, there might not be so many repeat offenders. The prison system definitely needs improvement. They could look at some of the offenders records and give some of these guys another chance by releasing them if they have been in over 10 years without any problems. So many kids and wives are struggling by not having their fathers and husbands home. Instead of building more prisons why not help these guys? Less divorces and fewer kids ending up in the system might be the reward for helping these guys and giving them another chance. The courts pile on the charges, restitution, etc. but the men can not pay if they are locked up. There are ways of keeping these guys monitored and in the system until they prove themselves on the outside…not all need to be punished for life!
    Thank you for the chance to express myself as an ex-offender but for the men and women that deserve another chance at life.

  20. mrs.wicker

    January 13, 2015 - 1:31 am

    Yea the problem solving program is really good my husband is in westville and he did It a few months back and it helped him cope with that horrible life in prison trust me I wish that type of program stayed with them to help them. And I don’t like how prisons act like our loved ones are a piece of nothing I mean there are crimes that needs to be handled differently and they need to treat them like humans we all make mistakes and what makes a person so powerful to decide how they can just take so much time from a persons life I mean most people have kids that are growing up with out their dads due to this.

    Thanks for hearing my input I’m just standing up for what’s right
    And good luck to all of you guys and ur loved ones just keep us heads up n just remember that they need u guys more than ever while they in prison
    God bless u all

  21. renee blackman

    January 12, 2015 - 11:45 am

    This program needs to be available to ALL prisons, not just first time offenders. It is obvious that at one time or another, everyone in prison was a first timer that didn’t get the real help they needed. The System has been broken for at least the past 30 years and it will not be turned around overnight. I hear everyone responding to this new way, but no one has given any information on how to get into this program. These people are no more then caged animals. Where is the rehabilitation? There is none. There is only good people learning more bad things from the truly bad people. It’s a very sad day in the world of prisons. Pray, pray and pray again for these souls who have found themselves in the revolving door.

  22. Kathryn Sibley

    January 10, 2015 - 9:00 am

    Judge Clarence Thomas said our prisons should have a sign over the entrance reading: “All ye who enter here abandon hope.” Those who are re-incarcerated find themselves without hope once on the “outside.” No job, no hope. How can they build a life when there is such a stigma attached to prison? How many employers are willing to give them a second chance? The “mandated counseling” on the outside just reconnects them with ex-inmates and the old patterns are revived . . . NOT CHANGED. How many young people have had their lives destroyed because of drugs and sentences instead of truly being rehabilitated? The answer is zero. The prisons must radically change. One inmate wrote in her blood on the walls at Pulaski State Prison in Georgia . . . “Don’t scream at us, we are humans too.”

  23. rhiannon oltman

    January 4, 2015 - 11:41 am

    I recently was accepted to problem solving court in Monroe county, Bloomington Indiana. I changed my life, instead of going back to prison I have been given the proper treatment, and services I need to the road of rehabilitation,and recovery. To find out if your State or county provides this type of sentencing call their court services.

  24. Editor

    December 30, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    Hi Margie –

    Are you looking to send money to a loved one in prison? If so, you can visit the following page: http://www.jpay.com/PAvail.aspx to determine if JPay offers money transfer services at your loved one’s facility. Once you have located the facility, you will need to set-up an account with JPay at https://www.jpay.com/Login.aspx. You will need your loved one’s inmate ID before you can create an account. To find the inmate ID, visit the state’s DOC website to locate your loved one and get their inmate ID.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!

  25. shaya

    December 24, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    Can this program allow offenders to get out early. He got 6yrs and so far he has done 3 1/2. He needs to be directed to a good path and this program might just help him make it. His whole life he has known nothing but the street life and I know he can do better he just needs help.

  26. Kelly

    December 22, 2014 - 5:32 pm

    I agree to these also but it also happens that when someone is in jail waiting to go to prison they take them to late to go into a program. Most program are 3 to 6 months and I know this from first hand my husband is there and they took him in September and said release date was in December but because they didn’t have a program he is serving his time until February

  27. Margie Smith

    December 22, 2014 - 11:46 am

    Where do we get the information to help someone that is in the prison system?

  28. sissie

    December 20, 2014 - 11:13 pm

    how will this program help cons get a new start. what is this program…

  29. Rosie DaQueen

    December 19, 2014 - 10:07 am

    I PRAY! that this program is implemented for all prisoners, because some people in prison should NOT be there. Prisons are overcrowded with more innocent victims than real criminals? There are more wrongfully convicted people in prison because the justice system has failed miserably. All it takes is one lie, one assumption, and one WHAT IF! to destroy an innocent persons life forever! I know from 1st hand experience that it happens everyday because someone wants to make a name for themselves! America! band together to take a stand and push for the use of this program to help the wrongly accused and convicted prisoners to be released from prison.
    THANK YOU ALL
    GOD BLESS!

  30. Patricia Thompson

    December 18, 2014 - 8:46 pm

    This is an excellent program that needs to be open to all offenders. Most offenders are young and not mentally developed yet so they should be guided in the right direction. Lets give everyone a chance to change their life.

  31. Valerie Chandler

    December 17, 2014 - 11:33 pm

    I believe that this program should be open to all offenders. Some come home looking to do the right things , but they get down when they can’t find the right job or the can’t see their children they go back to making bad decisions. So if they had this open to all ex offenders they wouldn’t be able to fall back into old habits that make them become reoffender’s.

  32. kim capyak

    December 17, 2014 - 6:30 pm

    I agree.get these prisoners educated and rehabilited. Let them out on good behavior.MI cannot afford 37,000. a year …now our gas is going up in price to fix roads.. let the prisoners out on good behavior.

  33. nina herron

    December 12, 2014 - 12:00 am

    I believe in this , the fact that first time offenders should be given this . Than someone who is using the prisons like a revolving door . There are those that need tobe helped and prisons really don’t. If a person just sits day in and day out , that person isn’t doing anything to make life better themselves when they leave . some get out and in few months are right back , some manage to snow the system getting on disability ,welfare . . a first timer has a change ,if given the option . just my looking at this

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