Alternatives to Incarceration

Programs that emphasize family interaction have been shown to be most effective while those that emphasize punishment are the least successful. Children are not independent beings and will be most successful in life with support and encouragement. When children make mistakes, community-based alternatives offer options to hold youth accountable while helping youth and their families learn better coping skills. Programs, such as Functional Family Therapy and Multisystemic Therapy, have been proven effective. These techniques, used in many community-based alternatives, focus on problem-solving skills, family empowerment, and how to provide structure in an appropriate way.

In the Commonwealth, a number of community-based alternatives to incarceration exist, yet more are needed. Some existing programs include intensive community supervision, day treatment facilities, and therapeutic afterschool programs. By keeping the youth in the home, it is more likely they will be able to address and overcome the issues that drove them to misbehave. Such an emphasis on alternatives to incarceration will help youth develop into productive, contributing citizens.

Our Work

  • Are you satisfied with failure or are you ready to invest in success?- This brochure by Kentucky Youth Advocates, The National Juvenile Justice Network, and the Tow Foundation, highlights the stark contrast between the cost of incarcerating a youth and his or her likely continued involvement with the criminal justice system compared with the cost of investments in helping a child become a successful, contributing member of society.