In the LA Times this week, the house arrest program which was promoted and subsequently increased in 2007 is being revealed as far less effective than first thought. The program was initially set to expand home electronic monitoring for non-violent offender, freeing up jail space in the heavily overcrowded LA County jails.
Sheriff Lee Baca championed this effort three years ago stating that it would take a significant burden from the jails and allow up to 2000 offenders to serve their sentences from home. The issue was passed and received extra funding. The problem? The number of offenders who stood to benefit was far less than the estimated 2,000.
The LA Times report states that “officials now concede the plan was based on a misunderstanding of the jail population.” Back in 2007 when Sheriff Baca promoted the plan, he wasn’t taking the “2,000” criminal histories into account, only the charges that those offender were currently serving sentences on.
When someone volunteers or is mandated to house arrest, they must fit certain criteria. People with violent charges or criminal histories do not qualify for the program. Once taking this into account, the massively expanded program now only serves 394 offenders—an actual decline since 2007.
Jail overcrowding is a serious problem in L.A County and across the country. When facing criminal charges, one of the biggest fears is having to spend time locked behind heavy walls in crowded and unpleasant environments. While the home electronic monitoring wasn’t successful on the large scale that was initially expected—it does still benefit some offenders in the California criminal courts.
Truth be told, there are several options available to nonviolent offenders. If you are accused of a nonviolent offense and particularly if you do not have an extensive criminal background, we can help you explore the options available to you.