Sheriff asks Supervisors to add fee for work program
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office is asking the county’s Board of Supervisors that a $50 fee be applied to the county’s new Sheriff’s Labor Adjudication Program.
According to Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster, the program was unveiled Aug. 1, and is slowly growing as local judges examine the program as a potential sentencing alternative. The work program was first announced by Schuster in May, through which nonviolent misdemeanor offenders would be sentenced to work on county projects such as waste cleanups and landscaping rather than placing the cost-burden of their incarceration on Mohave County. The $50 fee would be a one-time cost to the sentenced individual, used to cover program such as food, water, fuel and supplies.
“I believe this program is of great benefit to our county,” Schuster said. “First it takes offenders who would normally be sentenced to short time incarceration in our jail and use them to benefit and beautify our communities. This greatly saves our taxpayers from paying incarceration fees to house, feed and care for sentenced individuals. Moreover, it allows the offender to pay his or her debt to society in a positive and productive manner while benefitting our communities with ongoing cleanup efforts.”
According to Schuster, four Mohave County offenders have already been sentenced into the program.
“The program is proceeding as I invisioned it,” Schuster said. “While it has started off slow, I anticipated more and more individuals being sentenced into the program. As this program grows I anticipate getting into the individual neighborhoods countywide with the end goal of overall community improvement.”
According to Schuster, Mohave County’s judges are pleased to have the option of sentencing alleged offenders to the program, in lieu of incarceration; while minimizing incarceration costs and jail overcrowding with low-level, nonviolent offenders.
Schuster expects program participants to begin community cleanups in September, and will be used throughout Mohave County as part of the Sheriff’s Office’s litter abatement program.
The Sheriff’s Office asked that a public hearing for the fee proposal be given at the Mohave County Board of Supervisors’ Sept. 4 meeting.