After someone is arrested or convicted for a crime, they rarely get “off the hook” with no punishment whatsoever. Not all offenses require jail time, but many do. However, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and whether the offender has been in legal trouble before, an individual may not have to go to jail as part of their sentence.
The Texas criminal defense team at The Law Offices of Jed Silverman shares three options that a judge may utilize as a jail alternative.
Community supervision is an important part of the criminal justice system in Texas and many other states. It is designed to offer an alternative to serving jail time by allowing people convicted of crimes to remain in their community with the support of a probation officer keeping a watchful eye over them.
In cases where a person’s offense was not serious, or if they are deemed too much of a risk to be released on full probation, they may instead be assigned to partake in community supervision. This includes wearing an ankle monitor at all times, adhering to geographical restrictions such as avoiding certain establishments, attending court-mandated meetings, passing drug and alcohol tests, completing community service requirements, and more.
Drug Treatment Programs
In many areas in Texas, drug-related criminal offenses are seen as an opportunity for rehabilitation rather than immediate punishment. In some scenarios, drug abusers can be sentenced to a treatment program instead of time in jail. This strategy has been proven successful in helping people break their addiction and live healthier, more productive lives without the threat of reoffending.
Drug treatment programs are typically designed around the individual’s specific needs, providing counseling sessions and potentially medication to help wean them off their substance dependency. In addition, they get to interact with a support group and have access to resources for when their program is over. By giving individuals a chance to get back on the right path with guidance and support, treatment programs have enabled many to avoid further incarceration while effectively dealing with their addiction issues.
Mental Health Services
Mental health services are becoming an increasingly viable alternative route to incarceration. This innovative approach offers much-needed help to those with mental illness by matching them with the resources they need to stay healthy and out of prison. Educational programs are available to better equip people with a thorough understanding of their condition, how to take care of themselves, and how to engage proactively in their community. These educational initiatives offer invaluable feedback from professionals who can help guide individuals toward recovery.
Psychological treatment, such as group and family therapy sessions, provides support, teaches helpful coping mechanisms, and offers drug counseling if necessary. Mental health services provide yet another chance for growth for people with mental illness, helping them move forward rather than remain stuck in the revolving door of jail time. With mental health services, people have access to the specialized care they need while staying close to their family and friends.
Do You Qualify for a Jail Alternative?
Alternatives like those listed above can significantly reduce recidivism rates among offenders. These jail alternatives also have the potential to save money for local governments by reducing overcrowding in prison systems.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges and would like to find out whether a jail alternative may be available, contact the Texas criminal defense team at The Law Offices of Jed Silverman. We can provide advice and guidance on the best course of action. We understand that facing a criminal charge can be overwhelming and stressful, so talk to us today to learn more about your rights and options under Texas law. (713) 597-2221