BANGOR – A new twist on Penobscot County’s alternative sentencing program is coming soon.
Penobscot County Jail officials will be giving individuals, who they deem low- to no-risk, the option to avoid jail time.
The catch is, instead of being placed behind bars, if they are eligible, offenders can take part in the daily reporting program.
Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton said similar programs have been around since the ’90s.
This years’ program will take place during the day, allowing offenders to leave in the afternoon and return the next day, instead of having them spend the night like in the past.
“We’ve really taken an old concept that worked well back then, and brought it current to what’s more effective with serving those that are convicted of crimes, that again, still are your lower risk, no-risk individuals,” Sheriff Morton said.
Court and jail officials will determine who is eligible to take this opportunity.
But Sheriff Morton said primarily offenders with traffic violations, minor theft or drug charges will be considered.
One program partner, Riverside Adult Education Director Rebecca Cross, said offenders will go to different seminars during the program and be provided with connections to help better their lives.
“Penobscot County is rich with services and people want to provide education. We have a pretty robust menu and we want participants to feel that they have agency in their day, that they have choices,” Cross said.
“I think this will help some of those that are being transferred to the jail and certainly impact recidivism so they’re not continuing to come back into the system,” Sherriff Morton said.
Sheriff Morton said right now there are in the preliminary planning stages, so there is no official start date for the program yet.