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Alternatives to incarceration help support your child's recovery

When your child does something against the law, you know immediately the seriousness of the situation. Not only did your child make a bad decision, that decision could impact years of his or her life.

You know that there is a potential that your child could get away with penalties that don't involve going to prison or juvenile corrections. Do they really work, though? Will those alternatives help or hurt your child's future?

Alternatives to incarceration are good for teens and young adults

Judges understand that young adults make mistakes. Sometimes, putting them behind bars does nothing but reinforce the perception that the child is a so-called "bad apple." It's often more beneficial to help your child by making him or her perform community service or go through a substance abuse treatment program. Too often, the reason behind a criminal act is overlooked. By taking jail or prison off the table, it's easier to obtain a penalty that actually helps your child grow as a person and return to being a helpful member of society.

Alternatives to incarceration aren't just good for your child. They're also good for taxpayers and communities. Having your child in prison for only a year costs tax payers at least $28,000. That money can be put to better use. Alternatives are cheaper and get your child the help he or she needs.

Bypassing the prison system may also help strengthen your community. Instead of separating your child from those who can help, the alternatives may encourage him or her to work in the community or give back to those he or she may have wronged in the past. With the additional support of drug, substance abuse or mental health support, your child is less likely to reoffend and more likely to become a welcome member of the community.

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