August 31, 2004
Mesa’s city court will move ahead with a pilot housearrest program, allowing some people convicted of drunken driving and other offenses to serve part or all of a sentence at home, rather than in a Maricopa County jail.
The program, approved 7-0 by the City Council on Monday, gives judges more flexibility in sentencing while saving the city money because the fees are lower and collected upfront.
This makes it much easier for the city to recoup jail costs it tries to collect from some defendants and saves money when the city foots the bill, according to a staff report. It costs the city $42 per day to send someone to jail versus $14 to monitor the same person at home.
Presiding City Magistrate J. Matias Tafoya said house arrest offers judges flexibility along with significant cost savings, especially for offenders with health problems.
Mesa will get ankle bracelets and electronic home monitors, which have alcohol sensors, from General Security Services Corp. through Chandler’s contract with the Minnesota-based company.
Mesa could decide to put its own contract out to bid after six months to a year.
In Chandler, the most common house-arrest scenario is a second-time DUI offender who must spend at least 15 days in jail before going on house arrest. Other offenders may spend the entire sentence at home.