Alternative Sentencing Options for Juveniles

Florida is one of the states leading the way for the rest of the country to start considering alternative sentencing options for juveniles through reform-minded programs such as the JDAI and the FYJC.

The JDAI and the FYJC

According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) is a juvenile reform and improvement initiative launched in 1992 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. They were designed to demonstrate that placing low-risk youth into community-based alternative programs rather than secure detention is superior public policy. The JDAI:

  • Establishes outstanding public safety outcomes, 
  • Minimizes detention overcrowding, and 
  • Creates savings for taxpayers by reducing secure detention placements and the need for more expensive facilities.

The Florida Youth Justice Commission (FYJC) is a partnership established to promote continuous juvenile justice system improvements by providing support to local sites and implementing reform using the JDAI strategies. 

These strategies are designed to help ensure that local reforms are successful and that ongoing improvement is sustainable at all government levels. Selection as an official JDAI site demonstrates a site’s readiness to engage in the progressive work of system reform and resources available to Florida JDAI. The JDAI is a nationally-known initiative that has been successfully implemented in jurisdictions around the country.

If you are a juvenile (or the parent of a juvenile) who is facing legal troubles in Florida, contact a Bradenton juvenile attorney at the Fowler Law Group for help.

Examples of Alternative Sentencing Options for Juveniles

Incarceration means that the juvenile’s freedom is restricted. This has been the traditional punishment for juvenile offenders, and it typically includes:

  • Home Confinement. The juvenile remains home for a set period with exceptions for activities such as attending school, court dates, or seeing a doctor.
  • Placement with Someone Other than a Parent/Guardian. The juvenile is placed in an alternative home environment, such as with a relative or in foster care.
  • Juvenile Detention Halls. The juvenile stays in a detention facility for juvenile offenders. 
  • Adult Detention Facilities: The juvenile stays in facilities for adults, such as county jail or state prison.

All of these options have fairly obvious drawbacks for juvenile rehabilitation. Some alternative sentencing options that do not use incarceration may include:

  • Monetary Fines. The juvenile pays the government or the victims. Fines forcing a child to pay any government entity are suspicious, to say the least, and blatantly self-serving in reality.
  • Counseling. The juvenile is required to attend counseling, either one-on-one or in a group.
  • Community Service. The juvenile is required to complete community service.
  • Electronic Monitoring. The juvenile is required to wear a wrist or ankle bracelet for a set amount of time.
  • Probation. The juvenile must complete a probation program with a set of rules to be followed, including regular meetings with a probation officer and random drug/alcohol testing.

A judge may use a combination of incarceration and non-incarceration sentencing requirements or a variety of different non-incarceration options. Each juvenile case has different facts, and therefore judges should have the punishment best fit the circumstances. 

Our experienced Bradenton juvenile attorney at the Fowler Law Group is best-equipped to fight for a fair yet effective juvenile punishment.

Contact a Bradenton Juvenile Attorney at the Fowler Law Group for More Information

Like Florida’s legal system, progressive legal systems recognize that alternative sentencing for juveniles is the best option for true rehabilitation. If you have a juvenile who has been arrested, let a Bradenton juvenile attorney at The Fowler Law Group help. They may even be able to have the juvenile’s record expunged or sealed. Please contact us online.

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