February 25, News Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
On March 1, 2011 Scottsdale Police plan to rent space to defendants in other cities valley-wide convicted of non-violent misdemeanors including Arizona DUI charges for up to 48 hours. This alternative is being offered in lieu of spending that time in Maricopa County's Tent City or Maricopa County Jail.
No one wants to do time for an AZ DUI conviction under the harsh conditions of Sherriff Joe's Tent City. So the question is "what's the catch?"
First, it's not about comfort for the defendants. Basically, it boils down to money issues. The city of Scottsdale faces a $20 million deficit for next fiscal year's budget. The idea is to bring in $700,000 from this 6 month pilot program to rent the jail space in the Scottsdale Detention Facility. But some speculate whether or not it makes sense. Officials indicate that that it costs the city approximately $500,000 to keep the jail facilities opened. Scottsdale hopes to offset existing costs, of keeping its two jail facilities opened, and earn a $200,000 in profit to help the budget. The primary Scottsdale booking facility is the down town jail on 75th street in Scottsdale AZ. The facility where they will be renting the space is the Scottsdale via Linda Detention Center.
Scottsdale City officials feel it will help the over populated Maricopa County jail and Tent City because some valley cities in Maricopa County, such as Mesa AZ, do not have the space or capacity to hold defendants overnight. If the 6 month trial fails, officials report that the City of Scottsdale may have no choice but to consider ceasing operations and closing the building down.
Other concerns are that there are only eight additional beds available for out-of city defendants, because the other six are being used to accommodate convicted defendants from Scottsdale City Court.
So how do defendants opt in? Well, besides the Arizona Criminal Justice system's tape, several other things need to happen. For one, there needs to be room available at the Scottsdale via Linda facility. Eight beds do not sound like a lot. Considering the program is available to valley wide cities, the "no vacancy" sign might light up sooner than expected. And Two, it will cost the defendant $189.00 per day, out of their own pocket to stay at the Scottsdale via Linda jail. Ouch...on a good day, $189.00 that could pay for a nice room at some of the valley's best hotels and resorts.
Article Resource Used: AZCentral.com, Arizona Republic Newspaper, & Local Fox News Television Station.