New program takes pressure off county jail


Low-level offenders who might otherwise go to the county jail may have another alternative now in Mono County. Offenders can now pay a fee—$250—and complete “certain terms and conditions” in lieu of being charged and/or going to jail, according to the Mono County District Attorney’s office.

If counseling is needed, the offender pays for it, along with other costs. The case can be closed within six months with no conviction, if all the terms of the program are met.

It’s a way for county jails to avoid overcrowding and counties to avoid the cost of prosecuting low-level crimes, said the county’s district attorney, Tim Kendall.

“This new program is becoming more and more common in many jurisdictions,” he said. “I see primarily two benefits with this program. One, it will allow my office to save valuable resources and time by forgoing investigations on these low level offenses. Two, it allows an individual who finds themselves for the first time in the criminal system to “work off” the offense so they don’t end up with a conviction on their record.  

“The fees collected for the program are designated to be reinvested back into the community through programs of community education and outreach, prevention and awareness, and to help support programs that are in line with the goals, interest and concerns of the District Attorney’s Office,” he said.