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Alternatives to Jail Sentence

This articles briefly describes the benefits and detriments to popular jail alternatives, including work release, electronic monitoring, sober living, and more. Because criminal convictions and criminal charges are as varied as the number of crimes themselves it may not be possible for all defendants to stay out of jail or prison upon a guilty plea or criminal conviction.

For more information about whether electronic monitoring, work release, sober living, prop 36 probation, PC 1000 probation, or other jail alternative may apply to your criminal charges or criminal conviction contact criminal defense attorney Christopher Dorado today.

Electronic Monitoring: This alternative to a jail sentence is also known as house arrest. It requires the defendant to wear an ankle bracelet that monitors where the defendant is located at all times. A defendant on house arrest is generally allowed to attend school, work, doctor appointments and other important activities so long as he or she is at home at night and during the times that he or she is not at work, school, mandatory classes such as DUI classes, etc.

Electronic monitoring as a  jail alternative is very attractive to most defendants. There is a fee associated with electronic monitoring that is somewhere between ten and twenty-five dollars a day for each day of monitoring; the amount charged depends on several factors such as whether or not the defendant has a land-line phone connection at the place of his or her residence and how much money the defendant earns. Electronic monitoring is a great alternative to going to jail and by far the most popular in this list.

The drawbacks to electronic monitoring: 1) Electronic monitoring cost more than other alternatives to jail sentencing, 2) you cannot leave your house at night, and 3) you do not get good time credits (no time off your sentence for good behavior)

Note: Riverside & San Bernardino County have recently started to give 50% credit for electronic monitoring (one day credit for every day served as long as the defendant is on good behavior and does not violate his or her probation). However, whether or not Riverside & San Bernardino county continue to give 50% credit is up to those respective counties.

S.C.R.A.M., or Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor SCRAM monitoring is very similar to electronic monitoring mentioned above. However, SCRAM devices also monitor alcohol levels in the defendant's blood alcohol concentration, or "BAC." With SCRAM, the defendant wears an ankle bracelet similar to the electronic monitoring bracelet except that if the defendant registers alcohol in his or her sweat the the SCRAM bracelet will record that evidence and remotely inform a probation officer. 

This alternative is usually not offered by itself because it is not considered much of a punishment to be ordered to abstain from consuming alcohol without any other penalty.

Usually, the device is ordered as part of the electronic monitoring bracelet (some bracelets can monitor both the defendant's location as well as the defendant's BAC. Private companies like LCA offer these combo style bracelets. Cutting the bracelet off is a violation of probation.

The drawbacks to SCRAM bracelets is that the defendant can not drink alcohol while wearing the bracelet and the bracelets themselves are unpleasant to look at; in addition, the SCRAM bracelets may be uncomfortable to wear and the cost for SCRAM is paid for by the defendant.

Work Release: This alternative to jail has the defendant work at a site which is determined by the probation department or the department of corrections for county jail. Work release is another great alternative to jail where the prisoner gores to work in the daytime but then has no electronic monitoring at night. 

The benefit of work release of course is that the defendant does not usually have to stay home at night unless it is also a condition of his or her probation. Secondly, the defendant does not have to pay for the electronic monitoring equipment.

The drawback to work release is that the defendant has to work all day for no money. Usually the work release program involves the defendant cleaning with Cal Trans, but cleaning fields around county jails is also popular for work release.

San Bernardino and Riverside county currently offer 50% credit for good time behavior (See electronic monitoring above for similar good time credits and cautions)

Weekend Jail: This jail alternative is not really an alternative at all. It is simply dividing any jail time that is actually served in a way that allows the defendant to serve the time on the weekends only. For example. The defendant may check-in to a city jail on a Friday and check-out on Sunday. This allows the defendant freedom during the week but obviously no freedom on the weekends. The benefits of weekend jail is that the defendant will receive credit for good time behavior.

Work Furlough: This sentencing alternative allows the defendant to keep his or her own job but the prisoner must check into a dormitory at night to sleep. This alternative is much like the weekend jail except that the weekends are spent in a dorm with other similarly situated defendants instead of a jail cell. Work furlough is not a popular jail alternative because the furlough programs are usually expensive and paid for by the defendant. In addition, work furlough is generally more restrictive than electronic monitoring.

Sober living: This jail alternative might be available for persons convicted of multiple DUIs where alcohol or drug rehabilitation is not working.  Basically, a defendant is placed with other similarly-situated defendants who live together and attend daily meetings designed to help the defendant fight his or her dependency to drugs or alcohol. Chores are usually assigned to the defendant and the defendant may not leave the facility. 

Prop 36 & PC 1000 Both of these Jail Alternative are discussed in more detail at the following links Prop 36 & PC 1000. Both of these jail alternative might be available to drug offenders.

All criminal cases and criminal charges are different; therefore, some or all of the jail alternatives may not be available to all defendants. In fact, some criminal conviction mandate that a prison sentence is the only sentence available to a defendant.

To learn more about jail alternatives, including electronic monitoring, work release, sober living, and more, contact criminal defense attorney Christopher Dorado today. Attorney Dorado has successfully settled hundreds of California misdemeanor and felony cases in a way that keeps the defendant out of actual jail or prison.

There is no charge to speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney who will answer all of your jail alternative questions 24hrs/7days a week. Call today!


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Alternative Sentencing in California, including Work Release, Electronic Monitoring, & Sober Living

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