Is Alternative Sentencing Effective?

Alternative sentencing allows someone accused of a criminal act to avoid incarceration with various types of remedial programs. These programs serve an essential purpose for the state. The inmate numbers in Florida have exploded in recent years, leading to a lack of adequate space to house convicted offenders. The overcrowding has led to the need for alternative methods of punishment for offenders. Mass incarceration, while the strategy for crime reduction, has not resulted in safer communities, and recent studies reveal that putting more offenders behind bars has not reduced violent crimes.

What Are the Options for Alternative Sentencing in Tampa?

Alternative sentencing can take several forms. Some convicted offenders may be subject to at-home monitoring (house arrest), while others may be eligible for work programs, community service, drug and alcohol diversion classes, anger management training, or other alternatives. Probation is one of the most often used alternatives to incarceration. A “day reporting system” has proven effective, as these programs focus on rehabilitation, not punishment. While any offender in the program must pay for it, this option can be a positive alternative.
However, some crimes do not allow alternative sentencing and have mandatory minimum sentences, even for a first-time offender with a clean record.

What Types of Crimes Can Allow for Alternative Sentencing in Tampa?

In Tampa and throughout the state, first-time, non-violent offenders may be eligible for alternatives to jail or prison time. An alternative sentence is often imposed in cases of non-violent drug crimes. The penalty imposed, which will not involve incarceration, may include a mandatory 12-month drug diversion treatment program.

Alcohol-Related Offenses and Alternative Sentencing

Those who have been convicted of an alcohol-related offense, such as DUI, may have the option of alcohol monitoring with a SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) bracelet. This tamper-resistant ankle bracelet tests the individual’s sweat at least once per hour and transmits the information to a monitoring center. When alcohol is consumed, a percentage of it leaves the body through the sweat glands. If the individual drinks any alcoholic beverage, the presence of alcohol will be transmitted to the monitoring center. The SCRAM ankle bracelets may be ordered by a judge for repeat offenders who are believed to have a serious alcohol problem.

How Alternative Sentencing Benefits the Tampa Community

A convicted offender who is given the option for an alternative to incarceration can more easily re-enter society, is less likely to reoffend, and allows the individual to participate in rehabilitation rather than facing punishment, which can allow an offender to address an underlying issue through therapy and education. Punishment has been used by human society since time began, and while some offenders should be kept off the streets, a large majority can be rehabilitated. Attorney Patrick B. Courtney will pursue alternatives to jail or prison time whenever possible and is very familiar with presenting compelling arguments in court or negotiating with the prosecutor behind the scenes – he is a former prosecutor himself.

What Crimes Do Not Allow for the Option of Alternative Sentencing?

Some criminal offenses do not allow the option of alternative sentencing. These options are typically available only to non-violent or minor felony offenses. Violent crimes in Florida are punished by mandatory sentences. The best alternative in such a case may be negotiating a plea deal with a reduced charge.

Florida Drug Court and Alternative Sentencing

Drug use is a concern in Tampa, and many serving time in jail or prison landed there due to a drug offense. Drug Court is an option that is available to many drug offenders. When eligible, a drug offender can be sentenced to Drug Court. The penalty imposed will typically involve completing probation successfully and participating in a drug rehab program. These programs have proven very effective and can allow an individual to live a productive life ahead, drug-free.

Are You Eligible for Alternative Sentencing?

When your case is represented by attorney Patrick B. Courtney, the option of alternative sentencing will be explored as a priority. If you have been caught in the justice system and convicted of a non-violent crime, you need the support of a criminal attorney who is committed to helping you fight to avoid jail or prison time when possible. You can trust attorney Courtney to work diligently to seek any possible benefit, including alternative sentencing or a reduced or dismissed charge.

Does Incarcerating Offender Work?

Unfortunately, the strategy of locking up offenders has not proven effective in reducing violent crime rates. Many of those in the prison system have been convicted of non-violent crimes, so locking these individuals away does nothing to reduce violent crimes. In fact, it has been found that increasing rates of incarceration may actually lead to higher crime rates. The prison system breaks the relationship between an offender and family or church, which could have been effective in guiding the offender down a different path. Even a short period of time behind bars leads to losing a job, a home, and family support.

DUI Offenses and Alternative Sentencing

After a conviction for a DUI offense, the individual’s criminal record will reveal the conviction, affecting the ability for employment. With the alternative sentencing approach, the convicted DUI offender can honestly mark “no” on an employment application on the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” A “yes” answer often leads to being passed over for another candidate. The impact on the person’s livelihood has far more consequences than just serving time – it can destroy your reputation and make it challenging to get work or a place to live. Seeking alternative sentencing benefits both the state and the individual, and our law firm will seek this option when possible.

Reach Out To Us About Alternative Sentencing

Attorney Patrick B. Courtney is a talented litigator with extensive trial experience. He focuses on seeking every possible benefit for his clients, including alternative sentencing. Call us at call (813) 252-1529 or fill in our simple online form. We are here to help you avoid jail or prison time.