Pima County sees results in effort to reduce jail population - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Pima County sees results in effort to reduce jail population

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TUCSON - Prosecutors say in 2014, the number of inmates booked inside the Pima County Jail on a given night was around 2,300. 

Now, in the fall of 2017, that number has been reduced to 1,800.

"We've been able to reduce the cost by approximately a million dollars a year," Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said Thursday afternoon. 

The county says it's working to get out low-level misdemeanor offenders who often spent days behind bars. LaWall argues some of those people should never have gone to jail in the first place.

"The ones who are serving time because they can't pay for the bond or they're on shoplifting charges," she said.

Pima County is one of only 11 jurisdictions nationwide that are using $1.5 million of grant money from the MacArthur Foundation to speed up the wheels of the justice system. 

"The average amount of time people were spending was approximately 24 days," LaWall said. "For every day in jail, it costs the county approximately $95 per person.

"I don't think anybody enters a jail wanting to be there," Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley Hodge said. "They have goals in life and we're hoping to figure out how to get them back on that track."

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