Correction, June 22: Due to a combination of reporting and editing errors, Sheriff John Robertson was not quoted accurately when this article was originally published with a different headline and URL. Louisa deeply regrets the errors and apologizes to the Sheriff and to the Napa County Department of Corrections.
The prison realignment measure implemented Oct. 1, 2011 by the state of California could put pressure on the criminal justice system in Napa County, according to Sheriff John Robertson.
Intended to reduce overcrowding at state prisons, the new policy mandates some non-violent criminals who would normally be sentenced to prison now serve their time in jail in the county where they were convicted.
“We have an unique situation here in Napa County as the does not run the jail,” said Robertson, 53, who was appointed sheriff by the board of supervisors in April to replace the retiring Doug Koford.
“However, just because we don’t operate the jail, realignment also affects our department as well," he continued.
While the jail is operated by the , inmate violence often requires the sheriff's department to get involved:
“We have to transport all injured inmates to and guard the inmates' hospital rooms,” Robertson explained.
Robertson said he favors modification of the jail to include an honor farm for non-violent convicted criminals and inmates awaiting trial.
“We could put these people to work. It would be a minimum security facility. While there, inmates could go to school, learn a trade and attend alcohol and drug recovery programs,” he said.
“These programs teach skills and help offenders prepare for a job when they are released.
“They could be responsible for a community garden. And the produce they raise could be used for the and ,” Robertson said.
“They could sell their food at the .”
What do you think? Should Napa County consider these alternatives to jail? Tell us in the comments below.
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