State Intermediate Punishment
State Intermediate Punishment (SIP) is designed for individuals convicted of drug-related offenses. A drug-related offense is a crime that was motivated by the defendant's consumption of or addiction to alcohol and other drugs. SIP inmates are low-level, for the most part. The program pretty much excludes offenders convicted of any violent or sex offenses, including any lesser offenses that involved the use of a deadly weapon.
For individuals to become involved in SIP, both the prosecutor and the sentencing judge must recommend them for the program. Prior to sentencing, the judge must request that the PDOC conduct a thorough drug and alcohol and risk assessment of the offender. If the PDOC determines that the offender is suitable for the program and the Commonwealth's attorney does not object, the judge may impose a state intermediate punishment sentence. Under SIP, the inmate will serve a flat sentence of 24 months, at least seven of which will be served in in-prison, (four of them in a therapeutic community), a minimum of two months in a community-based therapeutic community and a minimum of six months in outpatient treatment. The balance of the 24 months consists of supervised reintegration into the community, which involves DOC staff monitoring their progress in the community and some additional services or treatment, based upon their individual needs and progress.
All participants in the SIP program will have an individualized treatment plan. Progress through the program is based on the assessed need and attainment of goals established for each individual. A person who fails in the program, due to misconduct or poor progress in treatment, will be subject to resentencing by the court under traditional sentencing guidelines.
In 2008, legislation was enacted that permits DOC officials, when they see an incoming inmate with a traditional sentence who may be eligible for SIP, to request a sentence conversion from the court.