Alternatives to Incarceration in Alabama

To learn more about the alternatives to incarceration, continue reading and reach out to our skilled Escambia County criminal defense lawyer. Here are some questions you may have:

1. Probation
Probation permits defendants to get out of jail or prison under specific rules and conditions. For instance, former inmates must periodically check in with a probation officer or supervisor. Similarly, alcohol and/or drug addicts will likely have to attend rehab sessions on an ongoing basis. While on probation, defendants’ activities and movements will also be restricted. For example, they may not be permitted to obtain a driver’s license, purchase a gun, or leave the state. The rules and conditions greatly differ from one case kind to another.

2. House Arrest
House arrest authorizes defendants to leave jail or prison, but they must serve their sentence within the confines of their home. To be clear, authorities will put an ankle bracelet on a felon in order to track their movement and ensure that they don’t leave the house. Moreover, defendants must pay their fines and follow certain rules. For instance, the court may prohibit them from consuming alcohol or purchasing a firearm. When an inmate breaks any of these guidelines, the authorities will re-arrest the violator and send them back to jail or prison.

Just like with probation, a house arrest is typically an option for first-time and nonviolent criminals. However, serious offenders could serve a portion of their sentence under house arrest when they exhibit good behavior in prison. In some cases, courts might permit felons to leave their residence in order to go to school or work, obtain medical treatment, and check in with a rehab supervisor or probationary officer.

3. Community Service
Another option for incarceration entails dedicating a certain amount of hours to non-paid work. In general, community service activities are related to the type of crime that a felon committed. In other words, the courts commonly require felons that are released on probation to fulfill a certain amount of community service hours. If they don’t, the judge will cancel their probation and send the defendant back to jail or prison.

If a former inmate is sentenced to community service (as opposed to incarceration), they must execute a certain number of work hours. The felon could split them up into weekly or monthly increments (for example working twenty hours per week). If a criminal does not honor this obligation, the court may count it as a probation violation. Furthermore, some judges will require current prisoners to satisfy community service obligations. Usually, this permits them to earn credits that would count towards an early release.


The Law Office of James M. Burns helps people through various legal issues, including those involving criminal law, family law, personal injury law, and will & probate law. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.