JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Post-Journal is reporting that Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace has put forward new ideas to deal with overcrowding in the county jail.
The sheriff outlined some of the ideas during a recent meeting of the county’s Community Justice Council, which is a group that looks to reduce incarceration rates. Those programs included a weekend only incarceration program for non violent offenders, which the sheriff said would help to save money. However, it would require that a third-party contractor be hired through the probation department to run the program.
Another program would offer an alternative to incarceration, depending on the severity of the crime. Sheriff Gerace emphasized that only certain types of crimes are eligible for this program.
Meanwhile, Chautauqua County public defender Ned Barone also addressed the council and said bail reform would also help this issue of overcrowding by allowing defendants who can’t afford bail an alternative option to sitting in jail and awaiting court appearances. He also noted that the high amounts of bail set for some defendants is “unconstitutional” because some low-income offenders wouldn’t even be able to afford bail set at $100 or $200 cash.
Bail reform is something that is being promoted across the state and was even put forward by Democrats in the State Senate.