Crowding at Denver’s jails is causing officials to consider letting more criminals serve their sentences at home with electronic monitoring, reports the Denver Post. With the jail population hovering at 800 above capacity, Denver County judges on March 3 will consider a proposal to expand the jail’s house-arrest program. Only inmates with jobs qualify for in-home detention. If the plan is approved, unemployed misdemeanor offenders would also be considered unless their charges involved domestic violence. Discussions are also under way on the possibility of extending the program to felons jailed for probation violations.
William Woodward, who last year reviewed the jail’s operations for the National Institute of Corrections, cautioned that the program should have safeguards. “Are they going to do risk assessments on these people to tell us how likely it is that they will do more crime?” asked Woodward, who criticized the jail in his report for failing to assess inmates properly. William Lovingier of the Denver Sheriff’s Department said, “We’re trying to stem the tide rather than just warehouse them in the jail. If we can get them out there and help them find employment and keep them incarcerated at their home, then we fulfill the judge’s sentence and help that person become more stable.”