Creative Alternatives to Mandatory Jail Time in San Diego

  • September 1, 2017

    The issue of jail overcrowding is something that plagues seemingly every jurisdiction and every level of government within the United States. When it comes to the San Diego area, the problem is one that remains a concern because of the dangers that can result from such a persistent problem going unaddressed by the legal system.

    One of the concepts that’s seen greater acceptance in recent decades is the idea of alternative sentencing. This doesn’t attempt to eliminate any sentencing by a San Diego court, but instead seeks more creative ways for an individual to serve their time and not overburden taxpayers. Listed below are those options:


    In 2012, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department created the County Parole and Alternative Custody (CPAC) program. Eligible Individuals would be considered non-violent offenders who are otherwise not considered a danger to the public at large, with eligibility requiring the person to officially apply for the program.

    Once accepted, an individual must wear an electronic monitoring device, which will be funded by that person. If the conviction involves the use of alcohol, a device that detects the presence of alcohol in the individual’s system must be worn. While this is often described as house arrest, the person is allowed to go to work or school, religious services or any court-related function that pertains to their case.

    Outside of those specifics, the individual must remain at home because failure to abide by these rules will likely revoke the original court decision to allow entrance into the CPAC program and lead to actual jail time. This idea allows for an individual’s sentence to be served while still being a productive member of society.

    Work Furlough

    The wearing of an electronic monitoring device is also required for inclusion in this program, which gives the individual less freedom but still allows them to work at their regular job. Once their work day has concluded, they’re required to return to the jail on an overnight basis.

    Without this option, an incarcerated person would otherwise be unable to financially provide for themselves or their family. Other court-approved activities, such as those mentioned with the CPAC program, will be available to the individual, though a work schedule has to be for at least 35 hours. In addition, the place of employment can’t be connected to the particular crime in question and regular phone check-ins from work are required.

    Residential Re-Entry Center

    In some cases, an eligible individual might not be currently employed, while in other instances, the work that they perform fails to qualify for inclusion into the work furlough program. Rather than have such persons fall through the cracks of the justice system, this program was established in order to help them obtain employment.

    The lack of a job is often one of the reasons that individuals return to making the same legal mistakes. This program houses individuals who take classes and actively seek employment. One of the main stipulations is that the person must obtain a job within 90 days of entering the program, with that employment consisting of at least 35 hours per week of work.

    Weekend Jail

    Individuals that have a relatively short sentence to fulfill may be eligible to be a part of this program. This allows them freedom on weekdays to work and provide for their family. However,on weekends, they must report to the county jail and stay for the next 48 hours.

    Going in the Right Direction

    An experienced San Diego attorney can assist in obtaining one of the above alternatives, which helps make life easier for all parties. You can fulfill your sentence without being subjected to great hardship or potential danger from other more-violent offenders. Your attorney will explore your options and make every effort to ensure that you’re accepted into the program that best fits your circumstances.

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