Alternatives To Jail

Alternatives to Jail

Doing time in Jail or prison is obviously everybody’s last choice when it comes to sentencing. If there is anyway you can avoid incarceration, you need to try. Since not every case can be won, it’s absolutely essential to explore alternatives to jail. Thankfully, there are a variety of options you can talk to your lawyer about. Depending upon the charges involved in your case, you could be looking at hefty fines, probation or community service if convicted. The sooner you talk to your criminal defense lawyer about your non-jail options, post conviction, the better off you’ll be.

Go Directly to Jail, or Not

In some cases, especially involving drugs, there is little to no wiggle room when it comes to sentencing. These cases are the ones that involve sentencing laws like mandatory minimums and other draconian and outdated laws. However, what some people might not know is that in many other cases, there are a wide variety of non-jail options for post-conviction sentencing. Just because you’re potentially facing jail time, that doesn’t mean that you automatically have to go direction to jail if convicted. Your lawyer can help you decide on what the best course of action is for your unique situation. Listed below are some popular and commonly used alternatives to jail.

Alternatives to Jail

  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Community Service
  • Restitution
  • Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Rehabilitation
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment
  • Work Release
  • House Arrest
  • Drug and Alcohol Education Programs
  • Family Violence Education Programs


Fines are frequently used as a means of punishment after the conviction of a crime. This alternative to jail hits you where it hurts, your wallet. This could also include restitution to the victim or the victim’s family members. It may be necessary to compensate a victim for any financial losses associated with the crime. There could be counseling costs, medical expenses, lost wages and other costs associated with your particular case.


Probation is a frequently used alternative to jail. It’s important to note that probation isn’t a get out of jail free card, and there are typically a variety of requirements and guidelines that have to be satisfied in order to successfully complete probation. You’ll be assigned a probation officer, and you’ll have to follow rules in order to make sure you don’t go to jail. In most cases, drug testing is included, whether you were involved in a drug crime or not. If you violate any terms of your probation, which might include being employed, you could go to jail.

Drug and Alcohol Education Programs

Drug and alcohol education programs are frequently seen in cases where non-violent addiction issues are present. It’s common to see DUI offenders be required to attend Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) as part of their sentencing guidelines. There are also programs for people who were involved in crimes associated with family violence. These are typically combined with some sort of community service and fines as part of a multi-pronged approach to sentencing.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs

Another alternative in cases involving drug or alcohol abuse are inpatient rehabilitation programs. These programs might be 30, 60, 90 days or longer in length and involve you going directly to these facilities after sentencing. It’s typically required to reside as these facilities during treatment and rehabilitation for addiction. It’s a little more intense than just attending educational programs, but it’s still a welcomed alternative to jail, when you could be facing actual incarceration. Most of these programs and facilities offer psychological counseling, medical care and coping skills for transitioning back to your normal life.

What About Youth Offenders?

Since it should be every lawyer’s, judge’s and justice professional’s goal to keep youth offenders from entering the system, non-jail programs for youth offenders are absolutely essential. Once a minor gets into the system, he or she is at a significantly increased risk for re-entry and potentially entering a dangerous and vicious cycle of incarceration and life on the streets.

When to Contact a Lawyer in Jackson

Whether you’re facing a lengthy prison sentence or a brief period of jail time that could seriously impact you or your family’s life and wellbeing, you need to speak with a proven criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible. Not all cases are created equal, so even if you don’t think you have a shot at probation or fines, you still need to speak with an attorney. You and your lawyer can formulate a plan and strategy to help you stay out of jail, even if you’re convicted of a crime. Contact Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate consultation.


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