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Alternative To Incarceration

Jobs Not Jail: A Better Alternative Model

Many non-custodial parents either mistrust or have difficulty navigating the systems of formal institution; the Child Support system is no exception. Coupled with other barriers, non-custodial parents (NCPs) are caught in a cycle of punitive encounters with the child support system, trying to avoid incarceration, and inconsistent child support payments. Family court judges realize that punitive measures will not produce long-term solutions to employment and child support payments on the part of NCPs. Other options are needed to address this growing problem. The Jobs-Not-Jail model provides family court judges an option to use at initial contempt hearings for unemployed or underemployed non-custodial parents. In lieu of incarceration the non-custodial parent can enter a comprehensive fatherhood program which delivers employment and support services focused on increasing their abilities to provide both financial and emotional support to their child. Nationally, the documented practices of diversion programs support the conclusion that key elements of overall program success are accountability and enacting immediate consequences.

Requirements of Jobs-Not-Jail Participants:

  • Participants must secure employment within 30 days of enrollment.

  • A judge may opt to extend the employment requirement if a participant is actively enrolled in a short-term job training program.

  • Participants must begin making child support and debt-related payments within 45 days of enrollment.

  • Participants must attend 24 weeks of Responsible Fatherhood classes.

  • Fathers failing to comply with program requirements are considered non-compliant resulting in issuance of an affidavit and a bench warrant for their arrest.

To learn more about the need for a Jobs-Not-Jail, Alternative to Incarceration and how it works view:

Child Support Enforcement Presentation (pdf)