DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office has kicked off a pretrial services unit.
In a community with high poverty, the Dougherty County Sheriff wants to make sure people don't waste time in jail when charged with a minor crime.
Tuesday, the Sheriff announced a pretrial release program to make sure qualified inmates are not trapped because they can't make bond.
Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul said he has seen too many families suffer when someone is arrested, and cannot make bond, so they sit in cells awaiting trial.
He wants to make sure qualifying inmates show up for trial, but go home to keep their lives going.
"Will get to spend time with their families. Not lose their jobs. And so many other things that come with that," said Sproul.
The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office has assigned two deputies full time to oversee a new pretrial release program for inmates who qualify.
They have to be charged with non violent crimes, have a stable home address and have five references vouch for them.
The deputies will keep close watch on them.
"We're going out. We're checking on you. We're looking at your face. We're asking you where are you at this point. Do you have a job? Are you still getting your GED?" said Dougherty County Sheriff's Deputy Christina Cruz.
The Sheriff's Office has five candidates they will recommend to a judge for pretrial release under their new program.
The idea is to get them out from behind bars, back at work and getting an education.
"We don't want them back. We want them to show up for court. We want them to be successful and live a life outside this jail," said Jail Director Colonel John Ostrander.
The pretrial supervision will include monitored substance abuse and mental health programs.
The cost per day per inmate in the jail is $46.50.
So tax dollars will be saved, and hopefully a person charged with a minor crime will get the chance to turn their lives around.
The presiding judge will make the determination which inmates are released in the pretrial program, then the Sheriff's Office will make sure they comply with their release restrictions.