In Inyo County, jail overcrowding has led to a new work program. Some non-violent offenders will work at county landfills instead of a stint behind bars.
It's called Work Release Alternative Program. Co-ordinator Carma Roper said that recent jail populations have soared to over 90% occupancy. Sheriff Bill Lutze expects the new work program to reduce jail population and the need for the costly addition of another jail expansion.
Sheriff Lutze likes the community service the program provides with additional workers at county landfills. Ms. Roper said that there are clear criteria for potential applicants to the program. They must be non-violent offenders. The program sets up a schedule in which prisoners work off, on a day for day basis, their jail sentences of between 10 and 30 days.
Offenders must apply, pay a fee and pass an interview to become a part of the program.