Skip to Main Content
Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

What is the Special Alternative Incarceration Program?

Many areas have developed special programs to help keep people out of jail and to give them help to avoid future criminal issues. Michigan has the Special Alternative Incarceration Program.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, the SAI program provides an alternative to imprisonment for people who meet certain criteria. It began in 1988 for males only, but it now allows for females in the program.


The program’s design seeks to work much like a military. Participants learn healthy habits and decision-making skills to help them develop the ability to make better life choices in the future. The trainees, as called in the program, will learn how to better handle change and deal with issues in their regular lives.

The program is also beneficial to everyone because not only does it help to change the lives of people who have a criminal history but it also saves money over-incarceration.


The SAI program takes 90 days to complete. It occurs in phases where the person learns different skills and transitions them to get ready for release. The program is very strict and formulated. Assessment is also part of the program where participants will learn about their weaknesses and strengths. Behavioral changes are an expectation of the program and the goal is to help people change whatever behaviors they had that landed them in the program.

After the program, most trainees will still be under some type of supervision. They will still have to meet the regular standards required of those on parole or probation. However, the program allows far less time in a controlled environment and under supervision, while also helping people change their lives.