Are There Alternatives to Going to Jail?

According to recent statistics from the Prison Policy Initiative, there are nearly 45,000 unique jail admissions in Connecticut annually. In the state of Connecticut, imprisonment is among the most prevalent punishment for offenders convicted of a crime. Imprisonment aims to deprive the defendant of their freedom and protect society against crime. Nonetheless, there are other alternatives to serving time behind bars that can help caution, rehabilitate, and make it less likely for the defendant to repeat such a crime.

If you've been convicted of a crime in Connecticut and want to better understand your alternatives to imprisonment, you need to speak with an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney for proper guidance. At DeMatteo Legal Solutions, I am committed to guiding and representing individuals who seek alternative sentencing options. As your legal counsel, I can educate you on the laws surrounding your unique situation and help determine the best course of action. My firm proudly represents clients across West Haven, Meriden, Milford, Waterbury, Derby, and New Haven, Connecticut.

Alternative Sentencing in Connecticut

Alternative sentencing involves all the different kinds of punishment other than incarceration that can be imposed by a court on an offender who has been convicted. The purpose of alternative sentencing is to encourage reform and reduce the negative effects of jail experience.

Benefits of Alternative Sentencing

Below are some of the benefits of alternative sentencing:

  • It serves as a substitute to imprisonment in county jail or state prison.
  • It mitigates the negative effects of jail on the defendant's mind and body. 
  • It allows the defendant to get safe addiction treatment and professional counseling.
  • It allows the offender to contribute to society.
  • It helps the defendant to avoid institutionalization.
  • It reduces the cost of running state prisons and ensures the targeted use of prison space.
  • It allows the offender to learn important life skills and lessons.

Alternative Sanctions Programs

In Connecticut, there are alternative sanction options for low-risk defendants who don't necessarily have to be in prison. These alternative sanctions are more restrictive than traditional probation but less punitive than imprisonment. They include:

Pretrial Diversion Programs

Pretrial diversion programs are available for first-time offenders who have committed low-level crimes, excluding violent or sexual-related offenses. The purpose of the pretrial diversion program is to reduce crime within the society by addressing the underlying factors that must have prompted the defendant to commit the offense. The most common pretrial diversion programs in Connecticut include:

  • Family Violence Education Program (FVEP) - for family violence crimes
  • Accelerated Rehabilitation (AR) – general diversionary program for most low-risk, non-violent, or non-sexual crimes.
  • Community Service Labor Program (CSLP) – for first-time drug offenders.
  • Supervised Diversionary Program – for veterans with mental health conditions charged with minor offenses.
  • Pretrial Drug Education and Community Service Program (DECSP) – for individuals charged with drug possession.
  • Pretrial Alcohol Education Program (PAEP) – for individuals charged with driving under the influence.

Pretrial diversion programs provide non-violent defenders with an opportunity to rehabilitate through a different path.

Alternative Incarceration Centers (AICs)

For some offenses, such as domestic violence charges, the court may order the defendant to attend Alternative Incarceration Centers (AIC). The Alternative Incarceration Centers in Connecticut offer different kinds of services and resources, such as:

  • Anger management counseling
  • Mental health counseling
  • Drug and alcohol counseling
  • Drug and alcohol hair follicle testing
  • Drug and alcohol urine testing
  • Job retraining programs

The court can order that you participate in any of these programs as a condition for your release.

House Arrest & Electronic Monitoring

In Connecticut, house arrest and electronic monitoring may be ordered as an alternative to jail time if the court believes that the defendant will fare better within their community. While under house arrest, the offender will be confined to their home, but may be allowed to attend school or work.

Additionally, the defendant will wear an electronic bracelet which will be used for tracking their whereabouts and activities. If you step outside the permissible range, the electronic bracelet or monitoring device will alert the probation department.


A defendant convicted of a crime or a motor vehicle offense in Connecticut may be sentenced to probation as an alternative to a jail sentence. You will be assigned a probation officer who will specify a day and time for you to report. The probation officer will help you understand the terms and conditions of your probation.

Let DeMatteo Legal Solutions Help

Criminal convictions in Connecticut usually have devastating immediate and long-term ramifications. However, being convicted of an offense doesn't automatically mean you have to serve time in jail. There may be other alternative sentencing options—but eligibility for these alternatives to incarceration requires having the right legal resources and proper guidance on your side. If you are facing criminal accusations or the possibility of a criminal conviction, retaining a highly skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial.

At DeMatteo Legal Solutions, I have the resources necessary to represent clients looking for alternative sentencing options. As your attorney, I can investigate every last detail of your case, help you understand your available sentencing options, and outline an effective strategy to pursue a favorable outcome. Using my in-depth understanding of the Connecticut Sentencing guidelines, I will fight diligently to defend your rights, help you negotiate a plea deal, and represent you vigorously at every phase of the legal proceedings.

If you have been convicted of an offense and want to understand your alternative sentencing options, contact my firm – DeMatteo Legal Solutions – to schedule a simple consultation today. Let’s explore your possible alternatives to serving time in jail. My firm is proud to serve clients across West Haven, Meriden, Milford, Waterbury, Derby, and New Haven, Connecticut.

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