Source: (1994) Evaluation and Program Planning 17(2):197-203.

This essay examines similarities in the interpretations of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs such as mediation, and alternatives to incarceration or intermediate sanctions (IS) such as shock incarceration. The analysis focuses on the claims made about these programs; who is making these claims; and the policy consequences of these political constructions. Positive political constructions of ADR and IS dominate the criminal justice system, and Americans are not likely to accept the negative constructions which suggest that crime and drug abuse are health problems that should be dealt with through prevention, instead of the quick fix promised by criminal justice system responses.