Source: (1989) The Journal of State Government 62 (March/April): 59-64.

In this article, Colson and Van Ness point out the need for reform in the criminal justice system in the United States. Overcrowding in prisons, ballooning costs, and failure to reduce crime are prime indicators of the need. Many legislators and criminal justice practitioners are beginning to seek alternatives to incarceration that reduce crowding, costs, and crime. The authors examine several components that underlie the movement for alternatives: punishment is appropriate; punishment should serve victims’ needs; public safety is essential; local is better; and wise use of limited government resources is necessary and good. To bolster their arguments, Colson and Van Ness profile programs that provide alternatives to incarceration.