Blischak Law September 20, 2023 Personal injury
Arizona prisons have been cited by numerous sources for their high capacity levels and the cost that it takes to run these facilities. More options are being explored to reduce these numbers and provide alternative or different types of sentencing for non-violent crimes. When mandatory sentencing is not required, alternative punishments can offer solutions to the high cost to Arizonans and those who spend time in Arizona jail and prison facilities.
According to reports by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), the prison population in Arizona is over 40,000, and the jail population is at 13,560. However, it has been estimated that this number is lower than the actual count because of the constant changes in jail facilities’ populations. These numbers require different forms of sentencing to be considered for non-violent crimes.
One role of a Phoenix criminal defense attorney is to negotiate a sentencing agreement other than jail or prison time, particularly in non-violent convictions.
Individuals convicted of crimes involving drugs, alcohol, or sex offenses may be able to seek treatment in a rehabilitative program to address addictions, requiring the individual to reside in the facility for a specified amount of time. Various facilities are available, including those for psychiatric treatment and counseling, and provide the ability to gain employment and educational opportunities if their sentencing allows them to leave the facility.
To successfully complete the program, an individual must follow the court’s mandates. Supervision can vary, and failure to complete the program likely results in a jail or prison term.
A person may be placed on house arrest and required to wear a monitoring device that alerts law enforcement when the individual travels beyond the specified range. In addition to a small area around the home, a monitoring device can be programmed to allow an individual to continue working. As with other alternatives, failure to remain within designated areas can result in jail or prison time.
Community service can be ordered for misdemeanor and felony offenses. Community service allows someone convicted of a crime to give back to the community through volunteer action. Various work tasks can be assigned, and community speaking engagements are one of the services that may be required. Community service can be rehabilitative, offering a learning experience, and often consists of more than roadside cleanup.
Both forms of sentencing involve the payment of money but differ in who the money goes to. Fines are usually paid to a government entity, while restitution is given to victims to help recuperate their losses due to the crime.
Unsupervised or supervised probation is an alternative to jail or prison established by a judge. Compliance with the terms of the probation prevents the incarceration of an individual. Unsupervised probation relies on the convicted individual to comply with the terms of probation without having to report to a probation officer.
Supervised probation often includes routine reporting to a probation officer, compliance with curfews, and any other stipulation put in place by the courts. Sentences can be deferred or put off until after the completion of probation. Completing probation can result in the charges being dismissed, reduced, or suspended.
There is also the ability to retain a job while being incarcerated. This option is often offered to individuals with minimal flight and threat risks to the community. Keeping a job is vital to financial stability.
Blischak Law Firm works diligently to advocate for a client’s alternative to jail or prison time. We understand there are two sides to every story, and a person committing a non-violent crime can benefit from different forms of sentencing. Schedule a free consultation today to find solutions backed by quality and compassion.