One big problem in the criminal justice system in Indiana, as well as around the country, is that there is a primary focus on punishment instead of rehabilitation. On a federal level, the First Step Act was just passed. This is a sweeping prison reform program that has some marked benefits to both offenders and the general public. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill signed an endorsement of the legislation and noted that this was a bipartisan effort to make a big change.
One of the primary things that the First Step Act does is establishes opportunities for people convicted of crimes to receive opportunities to rehabilitate. The act places a focus on programs that will help to improve character and develop skills that enable the person to become a positive and productive member of society.
While some prisons and jails do have programs available, they often aren’t focused on breaking the cycle of recidivism. Instead, they are more akin to activities in classrooms that just keep students busy. With this act, the programs will help to address the criminal behavior, but they go beyond that. They address the educational and family issues that often lead to this type of behavior. Additionally, social, spiritual and emotional aspects are addressed.
By addressing these points, the act can eventually help to save taxpayers money since individuals will be able to break the criminal behavior cycle. Reductions in recidivism mean that there won’t be as much spent on incarceration. With some of the alternatives to incarceration that are included in the act, savings will also occur since these alternatives are less costly.
This act makes some serious changes to the way criminal justice cases are handled; however, there is still the need to hand down punishments for illegal behavior. If you are facing charges, make sure you learn about your options and consider what might happen with the case.