Miami’s Alternative Program, which provides an option to jail time for people facing felony charges or convicted of nonviolent crimes, has run out of funds and may be on the brink of collapse, says the Miami Herald. Georgia Jones Ayers, the founder and executive director of the program, is asking county officials for funds to manage its 1,300 client caseload through Sept. 30. ”If the office is closed, Dade’s criminal justice system will be in a hell of a lot of trouble,” Ayers said. “The only reason I haven’t shut it down is because of [the clients]. They’re trying to pay their debt to society. The judges have enough faith in what we’re doing to put them in our care.”
The county spends $113 per day for each inmate. They are in jail for an average of 21.5 days. The program’s budget is $17 per day, per client. If the 1,300 defendants under the progam’s care have to go back to jail, it would cost the county an additional $3,158,350. ”It amounts to an enormous amount of money, more than it would cost to fund her program,” said Senior Judge Thomas Petersen. “Economically, the taxpayer is going to suffer.” If the program isn’t around, ”defendants will have to sit in jail,” he said. “Jail is more crowded than it has been in years.” Ayers started the program in 1982.