Community based correction is a program which is supervised to deal with people who have been convicted or are facing conviction. It is a non-incarcerative system of correction. Late eighties and early nineties have brought a new revolution in the justice system.
Parole and probation have always been a way of community correction, but with technological advancement and considering the psychology of convicted people, correction programs have widened to accommodate work releases, day fine programs, electronic monitoring, home confinement, community service, half way houses, boot camp prisons, restitution, check-in programs, mediation, curfews, restorative justice centers, drug checks, alcohol checks and other methods where there is a certain level of trust between the offenders and the people involved.
Jail affects a person psychologically and he or she can lose his self esteem which eventually leads to disinterest in normal life. Many jail inmates who are there for petty reasons turn to become hard core criminals with the company they get in jails. There are thousands of people in jails and more than 5 times are on probation or parole at any given point of time. ‘Jails were never made for people, it were made for crimes,’ says a famous crime based fiction writer. It is not that jail authorities want to solve the problem of overcrowding of jails through community based correction. However it is one of the minor reasons which lead to the start of these methods of correction.
Society has valid and legitimate reasons to stay away from offenders but this may turn them towards crime again. Almost one quarter of people who have spent time in jails return mostly with the same kind of offence or some other type of anti-social activities. Braithwaite put forth the philosophy of restorative justice which advocates a change of behavior of convicts through holistic methods. It works on the principle of reintegration. It is like helping offenders to enter the society in a way where they can be accepted by the society. This system has its impact on the society in general as well, as it helps the society understand and accept the fact that offenders are also a part of the society.
There are some offenders who enter the community based correction programs without entering jails and some serve a part of their sentence in jail before entering the program. We all commit mistakes and get an opportunity to learn and same goes for offenders. The process of learning starts when the person involved comes to know his mistake and accepts it. Eventually, the process may be difficult but it has helped many people, which gives a positive signal for other offenders.