Sensible Justice

Alternatives to Prison

Reasoned and practical alternatives to our current approach to incarceration

“[David Anderson] explodes a number of myths about alternative sentencing and concludes that a well-designed program can offer modest savings at no extra risk to the public.” —National Law Journal

Sensible Justice explores creative solutions some states and cities nationwide have devised to tackle America’s expensive and controversial prison problem. Former Wall Street Journal and New York Times editor David Anderson spent a year touring the world of “alternative sanctions” that substitute for prison, including work to repay the community or earn restitution for victims; house arrest under high-tech electronic supervision; the military routine of correctional “boot camps;” and counseling for drug addicts and sex offenders.

Alternative sanctions—some thriving quietly even in conservative states where headlines feature harsh law-and-order rhetoric—are demonstrating that rehabilitation works, while saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Just as importantly, Anderson writes, by reinforcing an ethical society’s basic values, these programs allow communities to make sense of criminal justice.

Combining reportage, interviews, and comprehensive research in an original and highly accessible book, Sensible Justice provides a long overdue dose of reasoned and practical options to our current approach to incarceration.