Alabama Community Corrections Offers Alternative to Traditional Sentencing Punishment Fines
Many Alabama Counties have taken advantage of a State law which allows alternatives to typical sentencing punishment fines in some criminal cases. Alabama Code § 15-18-170 et seq. establishes a community punishment and corrections system which allows for programs designed as an alternative to incarceration. The programs are maintained by the county commission or an authority or nonprofit entity for the purpose of punishing and for correcting a person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor or adjudicated a youthful offender as an alternative to the general sentencing punishment fines imposed in criminal cases. Community corrections may be imposed as part of a sanction, including, but not limited to confinement, work release, day reporting, home detention, restitution programs, community service, education and intervention programs, and substance abuse programs.
As set out in the statute, the goals of the program include:
- The promotion of accountability of offenders to their local community by requiring direct financial restitution to be made to victims of crime and that community service be made to local governments and community agencies representing the community;
- The provision of safe, cost-efficient, community punishment and correctional program which provides punishments through the development of a range of sanctions and community services available for the judge at sentencing;
- The reduction of the number of offenders committed to correctional institutions and jails by punishing such offenders in alternative punishment settings;
- The provision of opportunities for offenders demonstrating special needs to receive services that enhance their abilities to provide for their families and become contributing members of their community; and
- The encouragement of local officials and leading citizens to be involved in their local punishment and correctional system.
Those that may be included in the program include
- Persons who, without this option, would be incarcerated in a correctional institution or who are currently incarcerated in a correctional institution.
- Persons who are convicted of misdemeanors.
The alternative to sentencing punishment fines excludes certain persons, including:
- Those convicted of any of the following felony offenses: Murder, kidnapping in the first degree, rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, arson in the first degree, trafficking in controlled substances, robbery in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, forcible sex crimes, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child, or assault in the first degree if the assault leaves the victim permanently disfigured or disabled(b) The following offenders are excluded from consideration for punishment in the community:
- Persons who demonstrate a pattern of violent behavior. In reaching this determination, the court may consider prior convictions and other acts not resulting in conviction or criminal charges, and the offender’s behavior while in state or county confinement.
William K. Bradford and Amber Ladner of Bradford Ladner LLP are Birmingham Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers with over 20 years of Experience assisting clients in all manner of criminal cases. If you are facing a criminal charge in Alabama, please call us, we can help.