Santa Clara County officials launched a campaign to educate the public
about free alternatives to bail. Under a grant from the John D. and Catherine
T. MacArthur Foundation, the county will provide information about its
Office of Pretrial Services which interviews defendants at their request
and advises judges about the risk of the defendant not showing up for
court or reoffending. If the defendant is released without bail or under
court supervision, Pretrial Services provides testing and electronic monitoring
via an ankle bracelet for those restricted to home detention.
The “No Cost Release” campaign will help spread the word through
a video that will be shown in county offices and jail intake and booking
areas as well as through web page, posters and brochures. It costs the
county $15 a day to have an inmate supervised by the Office of Pretrial
Services compared with $159 a day to lock someone up in jail.
The campaign is part of a wide-ranging country plan that includes creating
a nonprofit fund to post bonds for low-risk defendants who otherwise could
not afford it. About 75 percent or more than 2,350 inmates of the country’s
3,143 inmates were awaiting resolution of their cases through a plea bargain
or trial and had not been convicted of a crime.