The Dallas County alternative sentencing option is being heralded a success for a variety of reasons. Not only do the defendants prefer their home to a jail cell, the county can appreciate the hundreds of thousands of dollars the program has saved in its first year.
It’s nearly been a year since the county began the program and it’s already saved $366,016, according to the Dallas Morning News. And the cost of the program—already paid for. The County had budgeted only $200,000 to get the program on its feet, well surpassed by nearly two-fold.
The new sentencing program was designed to replace a conventional work release program that allowed inmates to work outside of an institution during the day but return to that jail for overnights and weekends. The current program has “clients” instead staying close to home.
Each client is outfitted with an ankle monitor, one which is able to pinpoint location within 3 feet. They are allowed to go to and from work and then immediately home. Typically, the client wears the monitor for 30 to 180 days depending on the sentence.
Because employment is thought of as one of the barriers to rehabilitation after a conviction, the alternative sentencing program encourages clients to stay on the straight and narrow—not having to worry about losing a job due to missed work and a jail term.
Clients are required to pay a daily monitoring fee for the program, though it’s comparable to the $10 daily fee once paid by work release inmates. Other costs and fees may also be assessed, however, based on the case at hand.
When you are facing misdemeanor charges or even state felony charges, there’s a good chance you could qualify for a program like this. Even if you aren’t in Dallas County, there are other similar programs across the state.
Deferred prosecution and specialty courts also offer a sort of sentencing alternative, usually seeking to assist you rather than punish you. They may sentence you to probation instead of jail time—a godsend when the prospect of sitting behind bars isn’t a possible outcome.
If you have a relatively clean criminal record and the charges you face now aren’t a high level felony, there’s a good chance you won’t have to do any time. Speaking with a defense attorney about the specific circumstances of your case will give you a clearer picture of what you can expect.
Contact our lawyers today to discuss your case and the options you have.