Alternatives to incarceration

Our view of prison abolition is based on other models of addressing conflict and moving toward justice. This page has practical examples of alternatives to incarceration that have been successful across the country.



Dane County Drug Court
This page describes the Drug Court system in Dane County. Goals and benefits of the program include: “To break the cycle of drugs and crime; to reduce jail incarceration for defendants who present a low risk to public safety; to provide a fully integrated and comprehensive treatment program; to enhance personal, academic, and employment abilities for defendants.”


National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP)
The NADCP is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1994 by pioneers from the first twelve Drug Courts in the nation. This group of innovative judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and clinical professionals created an approach to improving the justice system by using a combination of judicial monitoring and effective treatment to compel drug-using offenders to change their lives.



Wisconsin Court System: Problem-solving courts
This page hosts a directory of problem-solving courts in Wisconsin. They describe the problem-solving court approach as “one that had been rapidly growing nationwide throughout the justice system over the last few decades. … These courts work across disciplines and with other institutions to deploy interventions that treat the offender while also holding them accountable for criminal actions.”


NADCP Problem Solving Courts page
This page lists some approaches to problem-solving courts. It reports that as of June 2012, there were 1,122 problem-solving courts in the US.



Wisconsin Court System: Veterans services page
Veterans in Dane County who are charged with criminal offenses are served by the Rock County Veterans Treatment Court Program. Dane County veterans with civil legal problems may receive help through the UW Law School Veterans Law Center.


Veterans Treatment Courts
There are over 104 Veterans Treatment Courts nationwide. Find an interactive map of courts on the site above, hosted by Justice for Vets.



NPR story on San Antonio mental health safety net
San Antonio has a mental health system that trains officers to handle mental health crises. They also have a restoration center to provide mental and physical health treatment. The story reports, “Today, the jails aren’t full, and the city and county have saved $50 million over the past five years.”



Decarcerate Monroe County
DMC is a coalition in Monroe County, Indiana, challenging the belief that cages, coercion, and confinement keep our community safe. DMC works to build access to meaningful, non-coercive options for dealing with problems and resolving conflict. They resist expansion of incarceration, including both adult and youth jails. They support shrinking the existing punitive justice system in Monroe County.

Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois
TJLP is committed to prison abolition, gender self determination and gender self determination.


The Audre Lorde Project: TransJustice
TransJustice is a political group created by and for trans* and gender non-conforming people of color. TJ works to mobilize its communities and allies into action on the pressing political issues they face, including gaining access to jobs, housing, and education; the need for Trans-sensitive healthcare; HIV-related services, and job-training programs; resisting police, government, and anti-immigrant violence.

Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (BATJC)
BATJC is a community collective of individuals working to build and support transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. They envision a world where communities can intervene in incidences of child sexual abuse in ways that not only prevent future violence and harm, but actively cultivate healing, accountability and resiliency for all—survivors, bystanders, and those who have abused others. Currently, they are engaged in work preparing for their first trial intervention in 2017.

Black & Pink
Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and ‘free world’ allies who support each other. They work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. They are outraged by the specific violence of the PIC against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing. Their goal is liberation and the building of our capacity to respond and support survivors and create transformative justice practices that can also heal the perpetrator through focusing first and foremost on survivors.

Chrysalis Collective (email link)
CC is a grassroots group of multiracial, multigendered, and multigenerational activists who seek to end sexual assault through transformative justice. Grounded in women of color and Indigenous visions of transformative justice, they are currently in the middle of facilitating a community accountability and healing process. They are open to hearing thoughts, stories, critiques, strategies, and dreams.

Community United Against Violence (CUAV)
CUAV works to build the power of LGBTQ communities to transform violence and oppression. They support the healing and leadership of those impacted by abuse and mobilize broader communities to replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation. As part of the larger social justice movement, CUAV works to create truly safe communities where everyone can thrive.

INCITE! Women, Gender Non-Conforming, and Trans People of Color* Against Violence
is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities through direct action, critical dialogue, and grassroots organizing. INCITE! is made up of grassroots chapters and affiliates across the U.S. working on particular political projects such as police violence, reproductive justice, and media justice; a national collective that works to leverage this grassroots organizing on a national and transnational platform; an advisory collective that helps increase the capacity of national organizing; and thousands of members and supporters.

People’s Justice Coalition
PJC is a coalition of NYC-based grassroots organizations that have joined forces to win community control and police accountability.

The Prison Birth Project
The Prison Birth Project is an organization focused on reproductive justice, working to provide support, education, and advocacy to women and girls at the intersection of the criminal justice system and motherhood.

UBUNTU is women of color and survivor-led. This means they emphasize people most affected by sexual violence as public representatives of the group and in the group’s internal structure and processes. They have joined together through their rage, their pain, and their hope to generate strategies and actions that prevent, disrupt, transform, and heal sexual violence. They believe real justice comes through healthy communities wherein members are accountable to one another and take one another seriously—not through police and prisons.



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