Jail offers home option

Inmates who meet strict criteria would pay to be monitored

Part of work release

January 20, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Beginning immediately, Carroll County Detention Center inmates who meet certain strict criteria for home detention can apply to get out of jail up to 90 days early -- but not for free.

County taxpayers stand to gain from the electronic home detention program, outlined yesterday by Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning, because qualifying inmates will pay the weekly monitoring fees of $56 to $91 and the county will save the $56.05 daily rate to house each inmate at the county jail in Westminster.

"Nearly every county in Maryland uses alternative sentencing in the form of home detention," said Lt. Mark Peregoy, a sheriff's spokesman. "In addition to the savings for taxpayers, home detention also helps detention center officials better manage inmate population, allows the inmate to provide for a family while remaining under supervision and helps facilitate the inmate's transition in returning to society."

To qualify, an inmate must:

Have been sentenced for a nonviolent offense, with no other outstanding warrants or pending charges.

Have received a sentence of more than 30 days, have served 75 percent of that sentence, have no more than 90 days remaining to serve and have a satisfactory record at the detention center.

Be active in the jail's work-release program.

Have a verifiable home address and operable telephone.

The jail has 39 inmates participating in work release, and 10 of those meet the criteria to apply for home detention, Peregoy said. Of the 29 who do not qualify, the majority either committed a crime of violence or have not served 75 percent of their term, Peregoy said.

Detention center staff began giving applications for the program to inmates last night. Once applications are returned, an assessment will be made and given to a home detention committee led by Tregoning.

"If an inmate meets the criteria, the application and assessment will be forwarded to the judge who imposed the original sentence," Peregoy said. "If the judge grants the petition, we will immediately notify officials at Alert," a private home detention program in Westminster.

Timothy P. Schlauch, executive director of Alert, said his company would enroll the inmate at once, supply the electronic monitoring equipment and notify the court immediately if a participant has violated any condition of the program.

Judges can structure conditions of home detention in any fashion, but generally inmates are confined to their homes unless they have previous approval from the home monitor to be away from home for a specific reason, such as traveling to and from work or medical appointments.

"If they violate, we pick them up immediately and bring them to the detention center," Schlauch said. "If they can't be found, a judge is alerted and a bench warrant is issued the same day, often within a few hours."

The type of inmates who will be granted home detention have many reasons not to violate the conditions, Peregoy said. They will have nearly completed their sentences and have demonstrated through their behavior and compliance with work-release regulations that they are good candidates for home detention, he said.

In addition to paying Alert's fees -- a sliding scale based on income -- inmates will have to pay the county a $25 processing fee.

Inmates pay the county $70 a week to participate in work release. Using 10 inmates as an example, the county would be giving up $700 a week in work-release fees but would save more than $3,900 by not having to house them for seven days at the current rate.

The county also will not have to pay medical costs that inmates might incur, Peregoy said.

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