The District Attorney's Office in Philadelphia has continued to expand its Diversion Court Unit. The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania has been a leader in the state and in the nation in developing diversionary initiatives and alternative sentencing programs. More than a dozen of these programs are operating including the DUI Treatment Court, Mental Health Court, Future Forward, and others. Part of the goal has been to allow those charged with non-violent offenses to avoid criminal convictions and the often long-term “collateral consequences” that result.
Intermediate Punishment in Philadelphia
In Philadelphia, there are Intermediate Punishment programs in place for both DUI and Non-DUI Offenders that seek to achieve common goals. The offenders in these cases will plead guilty to the charges and then have an assessment known as Forensic Intensive Recovery (FIR). The FIR process is used to determine the type of treatment that is most suitable for the individual. There are three general categories as follows:
- Intensive Outpatient: The offender is subject to one year of Intermediate Punishment that includes six months of house arrest. Offenders also must complete 40 hours of community service and serve a total of two years of probation.
- Short-Term Inpatient: The offender is subject to one year of Intermediate Punishment that includes three months of house arrest. Offenders also must complete 40 hours of community service and serve a total of two years of probation.
- Long-Term Inpatient: The offender is subject to one year of Intermediate Punishment that includes completing 40 hours of community service and serving a total of two years of probation. There are no house arrest requirements.
Offender Classification for Intermediate Punishment in Philadelphia
Offenders are placed into one of two categories (tiers) based on a Sentencing Matrix. Those who are in Level 3 are classified as Tier 1 offenders. The first of the two-year probation period is considered to be intensive, while the second has less stringent reporting requirements. There is no house arrest requirement.
Those who are in Level 4 are classified as Tier 2 offenders. These offenders are subject to house arrest and probation; however, their probation officer may use their discretion when imposing the length of time for each.
State Intermediate Punishment (SIP)
The SIP is largely managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC). The program seeks to reduce the number of offenders that are incarcerated in the state prisons and better rehabilitate those while alcohol and/or drug dependency. To qualify, the offender will have been convicted of a drug-related offense. Those convicted of offenses that involve violence or sexual assaults are ineligible.
The prosecutor and judge may request that the DOC conduct a drug and alcohol assessment. These offenders are eligible to serve a portion of their sentence in a community-based treatment program instead of remaining in prison.
Philadelphia Defense Attorney for Misdemeanor and Felony Cases
Were you recently arrested for allegedly committing a criminal offense in Philadelphia? Joseph D. Lento is a defense lawyer that has spent years effectively defending these matters. He ensures you are afforded your legal rights and aggressively challenges the evidence. For a free initial case consultation, contact the office at (215) 535-5353.