Proposals for prison reform and proposed alternatives to prisons differ significantly depending on the political beliefs behind them. Proposals and tactics often include substituting, for incarceration, supervised release, probation, restitution to victims, and/or community work, decreasing ethnic disparity in prison populations, crime prevention rather than punishment. Other voices propose the abolition of specific programs which increase prison population, such as the prohibition of drugs, gun control, prohibition of sex work, and alcohol restrictions.
The prison abolition movement is a movement that seeks to reduce or eliminate prisons and the prison system, and replace them with more humane and effective systems. It is distinct from prison reform, which is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons; however, relying on prisons less can significantly improve their conditions by eliminating overcrowding. Many supporters for prison abolition intend to replace it with other systems, reducing prisons to a smaller role in society.