"Today, too few community sentences are imposed and too many and too long prison sentences are imposed. The consequences are doubly destructive of the needs of society" (Chief Justice). These consequences not only effect the prisoner, but they effect everyone in the area. In societies where the death penalty is not accepted, the most punitive and coercive sanction that the state imposes is a prison sentence (Rethinking). Most people believe that prisons are the safest and most efficient way that an accused can pay retribution to society. While it does provide the utmost safety against dangerous offenders, it does not always produce long-term changes that help prisoners to be reinstated into the traditional lifestyle. It is important to find effective alternatives to prison sentences in order to create a contributive society. Prisons are great protection, but alternatives provide more beneficial changes. There needs to be safe ways in which each offender can work to their potential as citizens and try to live in a civilized manner (Rethinking).
With the number of offenders in prison, there is a desperate need for more jails to be constructed. The Chief Justice in England has called overcrowding "the aids virus or cancer of the prison system" (Rethinking). Unfortunately, due to the cost of prisons, it is virtually impossible for any country to build enough prisons to meet the number of offenders. A country has yet to succeed in building enough prisons. A new prison costs an average of 60 million dollars. Capitol costs of a new primary school are only 1.5 million dollars, and a secondary is only 8 million dollars. This is a huge expense for the tax payers, especially when they do not benefit from it. While prisoners are in jail, they are not able to fulfill their potential as citizens, and do not contribute back to society. They are unable to make amends for what they did in a productive manner (Rethinking).