The Life Employment and Skills Program (LESP) is a program for Oakland County Jail inmates to address their criminal conduct and any substance abuse issues. Inmates that are accepted into the program meet for 90 minutes over a period of 6 weeks for felony offenses, or for 90 minute sessions over 4 weeks for misdemeanor offenses. For misdemeanor offenses, the Defendant must be sentenced to a minimum of 60 days in jail in order to participate and cannot have an assaultive record. Upon completion of the program the inmate receives a 25% reduction in his or her jail sentence. The focus of LESP is to teach the inmate new ways of thinking, to achieve self control, understand distortions in thinking, and identify patterns of criminal behavior. There is no charge for an inmate’s participation in LESP.
The sentencing judge has to agree with the placement into LESP and the inmate must meet eligibility requirements. Certain conviction offenses (many assaultive and sex related offenses) render an individual ineligible to participate. Eligibility is determined by the Central Intake and Assessment Unit of the Oakland County Jail. Effective advocacy by an experienced criminal defense lawyer, such as the lawyers at Hilf & Hilf, PLC, may help convince the sentencing Judge and Probation department that a particular person should be placed in the Life Employment and Skills Program as part of their jail sentence. A 25% reduction in a jail sentence can potentially shave off months of incarceration from a Defendant’s sentence and is well worth pursuing whenever a jail sentence is likely to occur.