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Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Work Project Program/Home Detention Program Facility and Detoxification Center

    On August 10, 1998, the 1998-1999 Sacramento County Grand Jury toured the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Work Project Program/Home Detention Program Facility and the adjacent Detoxification Center located at 700 N. Fifth St. in Sacramento.

    Background

    The Sheriff's Department operates two work-release programs for low-security-risk inmates. Participation must be approved by the sentencing judge, and both programs are subject to reviews and checks to ensure participant cooperation.

    The Grand Jury was told that the Work Project Program allows those inmates sentenced to less than 60 days, and who are capable of work, to perform public maintenance. Each 8-hour day of work reduces a participant's sentence by one day. Participants work two to five days a week. Work crews are supervised by law enforcement personnel (a ratio of 35-to-1), and the County covers their workers compensation liability. Inmates pay $43 to get into the program and up to $20 a day for the privilege of working off their sentences outside a jail environment. There are currently 20 work sites throughout the County and approximately 1,600 participants. The program can expand to accommodate 2,400.

    The Home Detention Program allows men and women sentenced from one month to one year, and who hold regular jobs, to continue working; however, they must wear electronic anklet monitors and their mobility is restricted. Inmates pay $43 to get into the program and up to $25 a day -- based on ability to pay -- for the privilege of being able to keep their jobs or continue their education. At the time of the Grand Jury's visit 167 persons were participating. Participants are subject to regular alcohol and drug testing. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted to agree to allow 100 women from Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center to be placed on this home detention program.

    The Grand Jury was informed by Department officials that revenue collected from the participants in both programs allows the County to recover all but $900,000 of the $4.6 million allocated for both programs. Computerized billing and collection are administered by the Department.

    The Detoxification Center, an alternative to jail for those detained for public drunkenness, opened in December 1997. It is operated under contract by the Volunteers of America through the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services. Intended to relieve crowding at the Main Jail, the facility can house up to 80 persons (72 male, eight female) and averages 65 inebriates onsite daily. They can stay for up to 72 hours. According to information given to the Grand Jury by the Center's director, 1998 statistics indicated that 53 percent were brought into the Center once, 34 percent two to five times, and 26 percent six or more times.

    Observations

    The Grand Jury observed that both the Work Project and the Home Detention Program appear to be well-managed, cost-effective alternatives to traditional jail time.

    The Grand Jury observed that the Detoxification Center is clean and appears to be well managed. However, there are areas of the facility where staff are not able to observe detained persons.

    Finding and Recommendation

    Finding #1: The Grand Jury found that because the Detoxification Center is so new, only estimated costs of its operation were available to the Grand Jury at the time of its visit.

    Recommendation #1: The Grand Jury requests that the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services submit the detailed fiscal year 1998-1999 Detoxification Center operational expenses.

    A Response is Required

    The California Penal Code requires the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services to respond in writing to the Grand Jury's recommendations contained in this report, and to submit its response to the presiding judge of the Sacramento Superior Court by September 30, 1999.

1998/99 Sacramento County Grand Jury - Final Report (Internet Version) June 30, 1999

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