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Posted on: August 25, 2020

County Attorney Allister Adel Leads Effort to Develop Home Detention Program for Maricopa County

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For the first time in the history of Maricopa County, when someone is convicted of misdemeanor DUI, home detention will now be a sentencing option for a portion of the offender’s mandatory jail sentence. Home detention reduces and helps avoid collateral consequences associated with incarceration, such as disruption in employment, schooling, and family stability.

A months’ long effort by County Attorney Allister Adel has led to the implementation of this program. Her team worked closely with the Maricopa County Justice Courts to develop the program. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, utilizing the authority granted to them in A.R.S. § 11-251.15, recently authorized creation of a home detention program.

A home detention program allows a DUI defendant, following an initial mandatory period in custody, to serve the remainder of the sentence on home detention.  A home detention sentence involves either GPS monitoring and a breathalyzer, or continuous alcohol monitoring. 

“It is my hope that this change will provide the opportunity for people to remain employed and contributing to the community, while still being held accountable for their actions,” stated County Attorney Adel. “It also helps keep families together, giving individuals the support they need to address underlying issues related to driving under the influence. When you find a program that has already been tested in multiple jurisdictions and has proven to save money, protect the public, and help protect our jails, while still assisting the offender to remain employed which reduces recidivism, there’s simply no reason not to pursue it.”

“Home Detention will provide more options as the County moves toward a more smart and equitable justice system,” stated Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo. “For me, the availability of home detention is a first step of many in making major reforms in our criminal justice system. I appreciate Allister Adel’s work and commitment to this new program.”

Data from other jurisdictions reflect that defendants on home detention have high rates of compliance. The city of Scottsdale has more than a 90% success rate and low recidivism rates.

The home detention program is fully funded by offender fees, and vendors use a sliding scale based on the offender’s ability to pay to determine the fees for each defendant. Other jurisdictions within Maricopa County have also reported significant cost savings from the use of home detention programs. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has contracted with Sentinel Offender Services to provide monitoring services.

While the legislature gave the Board of Supervisors the power to authorize a DUI home detention program years ago, and has been used by other jurisdictions elsewhere in the county, County Attorney Adel was the first county leader to make the creation and implementation of a program a priority. 

The following Arizona cities and counties have had successful home detention programs for many years: Phoenix; Scottsdale; Gilbert; Tempe; Mesa; Chandler; Glendale; Coconino County; Pima County; and Pinal County. (The list is not a full list of jurisdictions with home detention programs.)

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