SAN LUIS, Ariz. — San Luis Municipal Court may become the first court in south Yuma County to sentence selected offenders to serve home incarceration in lieu of a jail sentence.
The home incarceration, subject to approval by the San Luis City Council, would require people convicted of certain misdemeanors to wear ankle bracelets that would allow probation officers to track their whereabouts or even detect alcohol consumption.
San Luis Municipal Judge Rosendo Morales Jr. says the program gives judges more latitude in sentencing, reduces cities' and counties' prisoner detention costs, and allows offenders to hold down jobs even as they are serving their sentences.
“It's a program that is being implemented by more and more courts,” he said.
An additional advantage of the program, he said, is that it frees local governments from the responsibility of ensuring inmates receive required medical care while in jail.
“We've had people detained who were on dialysis,” he said. “That becomes a responsibility for the system, because they have to be taken to their medical appointments, and that raises the cost of incarceration.”
Offenders who are sentenced to home incarceration can be equipped with one of two types of ankle bracelets or even both, he said. One is equipped with GPS technology that allows the wearer to be tracked at any moment. The second can detect whether the wearer has consumed alcohol.
“We have received a lot of reports from the port of entry about people who were on probation and who left the country” in violation of their sentences, Morales said. “Also, there are frequent cases of people who have been ordered not to consume alcohol but who disobey that order.”
Offenders would be charged a monthly fee of $30 to rent the bracelets.
Meanwhile, says Morales, that would mean a drop in city's prisoner detention costs, which amounts to $80 per day per prisoner.
The council began looking into the home incarceration program late last year and is expected to decide by late February whether to approve it.
That would make the municipal court the first south county court to implement the program.