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I was scheduled for sentencing for a criminal offense a month before I was supposed to...

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tashiac | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 16, 2008 at 2:54 AM via web

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I was scheduled for sentencing for a criminal offense a month before I was supposed to go to prison to serve 3-10 years when I became disabled.

I am still disabled and scheduled to undergo several more surgeries and the judge still wants to send me to prison after several postponements. Are there any other alternatives to serve my sentence other than prison? I will not get the medical treatment I need to live if they send me away.

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 16, 2008 at 3:58 AM (Answer #1)

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You might consider asking the judge for a deferred sentence if you have not already, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "postponing". A deferred sentence might allow you to have your medical problems taken care of at the end of which you would then serve your sentence. Deferred sentences are simply those sentences that for some reason cannot be immediately served and so the sentence is served at a later date, but it is still served in full. You might suggest that you be placed on a monitoring device while undergoing treatment. Most monitoring devices come with restrictions like curfews and restricted movement like going to and from home and work or school, in your case perhaps the treatment center. If this is possible it may also count toward time served.

By law the prison system has to offer you health care, they cannot deny that because you have been convicted of a crime. More often than not the health care provided is not the most comprehensive, but it is available.

Ultimately it is up to the judge to decide whether or not to allow you a deferred or alternate form of sentencing. If the medical condition is not life threatening you will most likely be told that you will have to begin serving the sentence

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prospero | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 16, 2008 at 4:23 AM (Answer #2)

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You are entitled to a lawyer and you should absolutely consult with one.  Your situation is very serious, and therefore the best advice I can give you is that you should retain legal counsel.  If you cannot afford an attorney, you should contact your local Office of the Public Defender about obtaining counsel.  You should do this right away to preserve all possible rights that you may have.

Try googling "public defender [your city or county]" to find the help you need.  Good luck.

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:48 PM (Answer #3)

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Ultimately it is up to the judge to decide your fate. Almost all States have medical units in their correctional facilities. You may be correct in stating that you might not get the treatments and or surgeries that you need. This is unfortunate, but true.

Do this, ask your lawyer and your physician to write letters to the court asking for either a deferred sentence or an alternative sentencing program. Depending upon what you were convicted of, this may be a reasonable proposal that the court may accept. Make sure your physician specifically documents your medical condition in his letter and spells out the treatments that you will need in the future. Inmates are of course due medical care, but what happens sometimes is that the penal institution drags their feet so to speak in taking you to the doctor and keeping your medical appointments, etc. For them, this is not necessarily a top priority even though your well being depends on those treatments.

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