Italian judges are due to consider on Thursday how Silvio Berlusconi should serve his one-year sentence following his conviction for tax fraud.
They are expected to debate whether the former prime minister should serve time under house arrest or doing social work.
Prison was always considered unlikely because of the 77-year-old media mogul’s age, and the non-violent nature of his crime.
Sources say a government agency has asked the court to order him to work once a week in a care home for the elderly and disabled.
Since last year’s conviction, Berlusconi has seen dozens of Forza Italia politicians split from the party he still leads, to back the coalition government.
His party may appeal to the European Court for Human Rights over his two-year ban from public office. On Wednesday two Forza Italia MPs, Deborah Bergamini and Elena Centemero,took the case to Strasbourg.
Berlusconi has faced several court cases. He has also been found guilty of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his power.
The sentence for tax fraud, which he denies, was his first definitive conviction.