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Types of Alternative Sentencing

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What Is Alternative Sentencing?

If someone is convicted of a crime, the court will determine what the appropriate punishment will be. While everyone is familiar with the concept of being sent to jail or being put on probation, there are a number of alternative sentencing methods being used by judges across the United States, especially judges in community courts. Common types of alternate sentencing include:

  • Work Furlough and Weekend Work Programs

One common type of alternative sentencing is partial incarceration through work furlough or weekend sentencing programs. Work furlough programs allow offenders to maintain employment and work in the community, returning to the jail facility during non-working hours.

Weekend sentencing programs allow the inmate to only spend certain days (usually weekends) in prison. The rest of the week they are able to live at home and work as normal.

  • Electronic Monitoring House Arrest

Another type of alternative sentencing is house arrest. Here, the criminal offender serves out his or her sentence confined at their own residence. Depending on the specific sentence, they may be allowed to leave home for various reasons, including work. The court then monitors the individual by placing an electronic monitoring anklet on the offender’s ankle, which tracks the offender’s location and alerts the court if they leave their house.

  • Community Service

Community service allows offenders to serve their sentence outside of jail completing community service activities. Each county will have different programs available, but often community service can be done on weekends, and activities may include landscaping, park cleaning, bagging, or graffiti cleanup.

  • Diversion and Rehabilitation

For crimes associated with drug use, the court may allow the offender the opportunity to undergo rehabilitation as an alternative to a jail sentence. This may involve attending classes or more intensive in-patient programs.

Who Qualifies for Alternative Sentencing?

Alternative sentencing may be available for first-time non-violent offenders. Violent offenders and criminals with multiple convictions are less likely to qualify for alternative sentencing programs. Further, if an offender violates the terms of their alternative sentence, then they may need to finish their sentence in jail.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have questions about eligibility for alternative sentencing, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Photo of page author Grant Atkinson

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 03-01-2016 01:20 PM PST

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