Do we really need to lock up the
people we currently hold? Why can't we just use alternatives
Since the jail referendum failed in 1998, Scott County
has taken a long, hard look at its jail population.
In 1999 and 2000, the County implemented new alternatives
which were recommended.
- The Court Compliance program, which works
with individuals who were placed on unsupervised probation
and who subsequently failed to pay a fine, collected
more than $338,000, which was previously uncollected,
in its first year of operation. 40% of individuals
referred to the program paid their fine in full and
completed all requirements.
- The Case Expediter, who ensures that cases
are coordinated and move quickly through the pretrial
process, was hired.
- The Sheriff's Department implemented an electronic
monitoring program for DUI offenders.
- In conjunction with the Center for Alcohol and Drug
Services (CADS), Scott County and Pre-trial Release
implemented a method to move pretrial and sentenced
minimum security inmates with substance abuse
problems into treatment at CADS.
Through these efforts, the average length of stay of
all inmates who were booked at the facility decreased
from 17.74 days in 1999 to 11.72 in 2000 and 10.54 in
Beyond that, Scott County had an already comprehensive
continuum of alternatives to incarceration.
- Pretrial release has been in place since the 1980's
and continues to be used aggressively.
- An adult misdemeanor diversion program diverts low
level misdemeanor offenders, such as bad check writers,
individuals charged with possession of drug paraphernalia
and simple possession, from the system through the
use of both deferred sentencing and deferred prosecution.
- The State Department of Correctional Services provides
a variety of probation services as well as operating
two community-based institutions. Collaborative efforts
have speeded resolution of probation and parole violations,
reducing the impact of this type of offender on the
- Fines are widely used. In FY 99-2000, the Court
Clerk collected more than $4,290,000 in fines, fees
- In FY 2000-2001, more than $1,450,000 in restitution
- Community service is available for those offenders
who elect community service rather than fine.
What the Phase One Needs Assessment showed us
was that the population of inmates who remain in
custody for more than the very brief period it takes
to make bond, get pretrial release and/or make a first
appearance is court is a population that is far more
difficult to divert.
- They have more charges for the current arrest.
- They have more cases pending.
- They are more likely to be held for a new crime
against a person, crime against property or a drug
- The level at which their bond is set is much higher
- indicating higher risk of non-appearance.
- They have a much more extensive criminal record.
- They are a much more difficult population to manage
while in custody.
In short, the easy targets for alternatives are
by and large gone. Our current effort focuses on
working with individuals in this group who are likely
to remain in Scott County - rather than going into the
prison system - to determine how we can impact their
behavior to reduce the number of times they come into
the criminal justice system in Scott County.