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4 Benefits of Probation vs. Active Jail Time


If you're facing a criminal conviction, you could be concerned about the potential of losing your freedom. Jail or prison time probably doesn't seem appealing, and you might not be excited about the idea of being put on probation, either. Even though being put on probation isn't exactly fun, it's beneficial over active jail or prison time for a number of reasons. These are a few of them.

1. You Won't Have to Leave Your Family Behind

Incarceration tears families apart. Children who were once in a two-parent household may end up in a single-parent household. Alternatively, their entire worlds can be shaken up if they have to move in with another family member or if they are put into the foster care system.

Even though no studies have been done to directly show that a parent's incarceration causes mental health issues, behavioral issues, and problems with academic performance in children, some studies do show that there is link.

It isn't just your children that you have to worry about, either. If you're married, you should know that the divorce rate for couples in which one spouse is incarcerated is significantly higher than for couples where incarceration is not a factor. You may also have parents, grandparents, or other family members who would be affected by your incarceration.

If you are on probation instead of in jail or prison, you won't have to leave your family behind to face the negative effects of your incarceration.

2. You Can Continue Working or Going to School

Getting convicted of a crime can have various effects on your future, but it doesn't mean that you don't have a future at all. Probation can help with this.

If you're put in jail or prison, you're obviously going to lose your job. You may be able to secure a job in jail or prison, but it's not going to provide you with anywhere close to the same income as what you would make otherwise. In many states, you may make just pennies per hour at a job while incarcerated.

Schooling is also available in many facilities, but it's probably not going to provide you with the same educational experience that you could enjoy while outside of jail or prison walls.

With probation, you will be encouraged to stay in school or to keep your current job. Your probation officer may even help you find a job. This can help you build up relevant work experience, bring in an income, and work toward having a career that you can be proud of and that can help support you and your family.

3. You'll Probably Be in a Safer Situation

Jails and prisons are dangerous. By serving active time, your health and safety could be put at risk.

For one thing, when you're surrounded by so many other people, infectious diseases and illnesses could be spread around.

Many jails and prisons take steps to keep facilities clean to help prevent this, but when you're in close quarters with so many people, it's impossible to completely prevent the spread of illnesses and diseases.

Physical and sexual assaults are also common in jails and prisons. This is a particular problem in overcrowded facilities that don't have enough correctional officers to keep an eye on things.

4. You Can Avoid Institutionalization

Institutionalization is a real thing. After serving time in jail or prison, a person can become so accustomed to living in this type of environment that adjusting to living life on the outside becomes difficult. For example, you might be used to not having financial responsibilities and being told what to do and when to do it, making it hard to be responsible or make your own decisions.

If you're on probation, you'll still be making day-to-day decisions and living in the free world. This prevents institutionalization, even if you're monitored to some degree by your probation officer.

Even though being on probation might have its downsides, it's better than serving active time in jail or prison. If you're facing criminal charges, have your lawyer help fight for probation rather than an active sentence, and once you're on probation, do what you can to avoid violating your probation. Contact us at Raymond Martinez Attorney at Law to find out how we can help.