Baldwin County Sheriff's Pre-Trial and Community Corrections Program
Community Corrections is actually comprised of a number of subcomponent programs. All of the subcomponents are designed to support the overall mission of public safety by affording lower cost alternatives to more traditional correctional approaches, while maintaining public safety and managing offenders with integrity.
The first question most citizens want to know is how you can do both. Unlike some other jurisdictions, the local legislation that was enacted to allow for Community Corrections is very restrictive on who is eligible to participate. Offenders charged with and/or with a history of any violent crimes, sex crimes, sales of narcotics, gang offenders, or other excluded offenses are prohibited by statute from participation in a Community Corrections Program. Persons who may be eligible for Community Corrections are therefore lesser offenders charged with or sentenced on lower level offenses and are deemed not a flight risk. Examples would include individuals charged with a bad check case, petty theft, past due child support, and some crimes associated with the abuse of alcohol or some narcotics. These individuals are generally employable and generally already working at local businesses and living in the community, but have exhibited behaviors that resulted in an arrest. Without an alternative to traditional jail, these lower level offenders are drawn into the system and frequently loose their job, owe rent and otherwise cost taxpayers significant sums beyond just incarceration costs.
The Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, in junction with the Baldwin County Commission and Community Corrections Board, has implemented the Pre-Trial component for the individuals who qualify but have not otherwise made bond or bail. The advantage to the taxpayer is that when these individuals are released, with specific restrictions imposed, that opens a jail slot for more serious offenders. For the offender, it allows them to maintain employment, meet family commitments and provides the opportunity to regain a place of responsibility in the community.
It is important to note that Pre-Trial Release is not for everyone. Offenders must voluntarily submit to outside supervision that significantly restricts their freedoms and offenders must pay a portion of the costs associated with their participation in a Pre-Trial Release Program. In return, taxpayers are relieved of some of the more expensive costs associated with traditional incarceration, jail space is reserved for more serious offenders and the District Attorney and courts are provided with sanctions that allow for more flexibility in local sentencing.
The Sheriff continues to maintain the responsibility of maintaining the county jail which houses people arrested for various crimes and who are not eligible for release on Pre-Trial or Community Corrections. By incorporating Pre-Trial Release and Community Corrections, law enforcement, prosecutors, the courts and county commission, are working together to provide the best possible public safety service at the lowest possible cost. Here is Community Corrections at work. Please take the time to view our web page which contains more information and photos of our program. If you have further questions, please contact us at 251-580-1678.
Most sincerely yours,
SGT Jessica Wilson
Pre-Trial Release & Community Corrections Director