Source: (2004) Northwest Wisconsin Criminal Justice Management Conference, Lakewoods Resort, Cable, Wisconsin, November 12. Downloaded 20 May 2005.

Controversy surrounds the use of incarceration as a significant response to crime. It is an expensive approach that in too many cases has underperformed on reliable measures of effectiveness. Sometimes, those returned to the community are “worse offâ€? after a period of confinement than when they entered. For county jails, the problem of cost and recidivism are exacerbated by budgetary constraints and various state mandates. Due to the inability of incarceration to satisfy long-term criminal justice objectives and the very high expenditures associated with the sanction, policymakers at various levels of government have sought to identify appropriate alternatives that are better able to address the crime problem in a more cost-effective manner. Perhaps an efficient way to accomplish these goals is to look at science. The information contained in this summary reflects an extensive and comprehensive review of the quantitative scientific literature. Evaluations published in academic journals are more highly regarded because they were subject to a comprehensive peer review process that critiqued aspects of the methodology employed and conclusions drawn. While efforts were made to identify and include a variety of studies from an array of scholarly sources, time constraints precluded an exhaustive investigation. One expects that this review reflects the overall state of what is scientifically known regarding several alternatives to incarceration; however, it is quite possible that other studies in less recognized publication outlets were inadvertently omitted. Readers who are familiar with such studies are encouraged to contact the authors in the spirit of advancing scientific knowledge. Indeed, due to the nature of science, this review is very much a “work in progress.â€? (excerpt)

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