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Code of Alabama - Title 15: Criminal Procedure - Section 15-18-175 - Eligibility; exclusion; sentencing

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Section 15-18-175 - Eligibility; exclusion; sentencing.

(a) An offender who meets one of the following minimum criteria shall be considered eligible for punishment in the community under this article:

(1) Persons who, without this option, would be incarcerated in a correctional institution or who are currently incarcerated in a correctional institution.

(2) Persons who are convicted of misdemeanors.

(b) The following offenders are excluded from consideration for punishment in the community:

(1) Persons who are convicted of offenses as listed in subdivision (14) of Section 15-18-171.

(2) 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.

(c) The eligibility criteria established in this section shall be interpreted as guidelines for the benefit of the court in making a determination of eligibility of offenders and assessment of funds under this article.

(d)(1) Except as provided in subsection (a) of Section 15-18-172, the court may sentence an eligible offender as defined in this section directly to any appropriate community-based alternative provided, either as a part of or in conjunction with a split sentence as provided for in Section 15-18-8, or otherwise as an alternative to prison; or as a condition for a defendant to meet in conjunction with probation; and under such additional terms and conditions as the court may prescribe. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a defendant may only be sentenced to participate in community punishment and corrections programs when adequate space and staff are available. No program shall be required to operate beyond its staffing and design capabilities as provided in Section 15-18-172.

(2) In sentencing an eligible offender to any community-based alternative to incarceration, the court shall possess the authority to set the duration of the sentence for the offense committed to any period of time up to the maximum sentence within the appropriate sentence range for the particular offense. A court may not sentence an eligible offender to any community punishment and corrections program if the sentencing would cause the offender participation level to exceed the maximum participation level established for that program in its community punishment and corrections plan as provided in Section 15-18-172.

(3) After a hearing on the violation, the court may alter the sentence imposed for a violation of the conditions imposed by the court, as follows:

a. If the defendant violates a condition of the sentence at any time prior to the expiration or termination of the term of the sentence, the court may implement one or more of the following options:

1. Continue the offender on the existing sentence.

2. Issue a formal or informal warning to the offender that further violations may result in revocation of the sentence.

3. Conduct a formal or informal warning to reemphasize the necessity of compliance with the conditions of the sentence.

4. Modify the conditions of serving the sentence, possibly including the inclusion of short periods of confinement in local facilities for time for which supervision of sentence was formerly given.

5. Revoke the sentence as listed in paragraph b. below.

In lieu of a formal hearing, the court may issue a standing court order authorizing program administrators to impose the disciplinary sanctions listed in subparagraphs 1., 2., and 3. or any preapproved sanction that does not include a period of confinement. All instances of noncompliance and disciplinary actions shall be immediately reported to the court.

b. A revocation hearing shall be conducted before the court prior to revocation of the community corrections sentence. The court shall apply the same due process safeguards as a probation revocation proceeding and may modify or revoke the community punishment sentence and impose the sentence that was suspended at the original hearing or any lesser sentence, including any option listed in subdivision (1) of subsection (d).

c. If revocation results in a sentence of confinement, credit shall be given for all time spent in custody prior to revocation. Full credit shall be awarded for full-time confinement in facilities such as city or county jails, state prisons, and boot camps.

d. The court shall not revoke the sentence and order the confinement to prison of the offender unless the court finds, on the basis of the original offense and the offender's intervening conduct, that either of the following apply:

1. No measure short of confinement will adequately protect the community from further criminal activity by the offender.

2. No measure short of confinement will avoid depreciating the seriousness of the violation.

e. The willful failure of an inmate to remain within the extended limits of his or her confinement or to return to the place of confinement within the time prescribed shall be deemed an escape from a state penal institution in the case of a state inmate and an escape from the custody of the sheriff in the case of a county inmate and shall be punishable accordingly.

f. The victim will be notified in accordance with procedures established in the community punishment and corrections plan prior to sentencing under this article.

g. Restitution, when appropriate, shall be ordered by the court as a condition for a community-based sentence under this article in addition to any mandatory victim assessment fees.

1. Nothing herein shall prevent a court from sentencing an eligible defendant to community-based punishment in conjunction with a suspended sentence confinement pursuant to the split sentences or probation.

2. The State of Alabama and any county or municipality may become employers of community punishment and corrections inmates under this article, and as such, may employ inmates to perform any state or county or municipal job available, including, but not limited to, road or bridge work, garbage collection, and public grounds maintenance. Inmates so employed shall not be eligible to participate in group health, accident, and life insurance programs, or retirement programs provided regular state or county or municipal employees. Worker's compensation benefits may be provided the inmates at the discretion of the state or employing county or municipality.

3. Inmates employed under this section shall be paid at least the federally established minimum wage.

4. Counties may utilize inmates or others required by a court of competent jurisdiction to perform community service in county work, including, but not limited to, removal of debris or trash from roads and rights-of-way, road or bridge work, garbage collection, and public grounds maintenance.

5. State and county inmates performing community service shall not be entitled to any compensation.

(Acts 1991, No. 91-441, p. 795, §6; Act 2003-353, p. 930, §1.)
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Last modified: March 18, 2014