The state of California is under a court order to reduce its prison populations. Now, former supervisor Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is looking to introduce a potential solution to this issue through an ordinance that would expand the qualifications for electronic monitoring of criminal offenders.
The proposed law would allow more people to exchange custody and jail time for wearing an ankle bracelet that tracks their location at any given time, which is usually issued with house arrest situation. Under this ordinance, those who are charged with a crime and awaiting trial would not have to post bail, and instead serve pre-trial time at home while wearing the tracking device.
This solution would help in two ways. It has the potential to significantly reduce jail populations in California, where in San Francisco County alone, 50 to 75 percent of those incarcerated at any given time are at the pre-trial stage. A similar situation exists in most California counties. In addition, electronic monitoring will save money for taxpayers, as the cost of the bracelets are one-fifth the expense of a jail bed.
Speaking to the San Francisco City Insider, Mirkarimi said that expanding the electronic monitoring program would help to neutralize the effect for poor people who are charged with a crime and can't make bail.
Public safety has been an ongoing concern for many when it comes to home detention and electronic monitoring programs. However, the legislation introduced by Mirkarimi would concentrate on qualifying low-level offenders who are not a danger to the public, and simply cannot afford to make bail.
According to the City Insider, Director Will Leong is in favor of the program. Leong stated that electronic monitoring does not conflict with public safety and would allow the city to work more with high-need clients, such as the homeless, and concentrate on rehabilitation to reduce the rate of repeat offenders.
Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Vitaly Sigal provides aggressive defense representation for people who have been charged with various crimes, including low-level offenders. To learn more about criminal charges in Los Angeles, contact our office today and discuss the details of your case with Mr. Sigal.