mixed sentence | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Courts / Corrections

A mixed sentence is a type of sentence that involves a combination of a term of imprisonment and a term of probation or supervised release.

Breaking it down, a mixed sentence is like a blend of confinement and freedom. Initially, the person serves prison time. This means being locked up, following strict rules, and having limited freedoms. After this period of confinement, the person is set free. But their freedom comes with strings attached, including probation or supervised release.

The Probation Period

The part of a mixed sentence that takes place outside of prison is the probation or supervised release period. This isn’t a total return to normal life. Instead, it comes with rules and conditions the person must follow.

For example, they might have to regularly check in with a probation officer. This officer keeps tabs on their activities and progress. They could also be required to attend counseling sessions. This could involve talking with a therapist about their experiences and strategies for staying out of trouble.

How Long Does a Mixed Sentence Last?

Mixed sentences can vary in length. The time spent in jail and the probation period isn’t the same for everyone. The judge decides the length of each part of the sentence. They consider things like the seriousness of the crime and the person’s criminal history. Sentencing guidelines also influence their decision.

Why Choose a Mixed Sentence?

Why might a judge use a mixed sentence? It’s often chosen for more serious crimes that deserve time behind bars. But the judge might also believe that the person can turn their life around.

Probation offers a structured environment, support, and a chance to reintegrate into society. The person can gradually adjust to life outside of jail, under supervision. It gives them a chance to start anew while keeping the community safe.


To sum it up, a mixed sentence involves both jail time and a probation or supervised release period. It’s a balance of punishment and rehabilitation, confinement and freedom. The goal is to hold the person accountable for their actions, while also providing a structured path for their successful return to the community. This kind of sentence can act as a catalyst for change, turning a person away from crime and towards a more constructive path.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 06/04/2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.