October 30, 2012 By Wallin & Klarich

Overcrowded jails have become a problem in California. With a stalled economy, counties in California have few options to appease the growing jail population. One option many counties in California, including Los Angeles County, have been considering is a pretrial release program for low-level accused offenders.


Los Angeles County has been exploring the option of including a risk-evaluation model to their incarceration program that would allow them to release inmates without bail. To qualify for the pretrial release program, the individual must be charged with a low-level crime, such as drug possession or petty theft.

According to Joseph Charney, deputy in charge of criminal justice matters for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, “the plan would allow the county to more effectively prioritize which inmates should be held in custody.” Currently, two-thirds of California’s jail inmates are incarcerated on a pretrial hold.

Los Angeles has been closely monitoring similar programs in various different counties in California to observe the effectiveness of such programs. San Francisco has been the perfect model of the pretrial release program because it has one of its lowest incarcerated populations in San Francisco’s history. In addition, Santa Clara County has seen its jail population decrease by 25 percent over a two-year span. Los Angeles County hopes to decrease its jail population at the same rate.

Those who are against the pretrial release program fear that inmates released through the pretrial release program would not show up for their trial date. But statistics in San Francisco and Santa Clara have shown that more than 97 percent and 89 percent, respectively, have shown up for their court date. Thus, the pretrial release programs have effectively decreased the jail population while showing signs of cooperation by released inmates.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have a pilot pretrial release plan set to go into effect in November 2012 that would ultimately release 1,000 inmates who are held in custody on pretrial hold. If you or a loved one is incarcerated for a low-level crime, you must speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich. The criminal defense attorneys from Wallin & Klarich are very experienced in the area of criminal law and can assist you today. With offices in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties, a Wallin & Klarich attorney is always available to assist you in your case. Please call 888-280-6839 or visit wklaw.com for more information.

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