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An Alternative to “Tent City?”

Posted by Craig Penrod | Sep 09, 2013 | 0 Comments

You get popped for a DUI and ultimately end up having to serve a 24-hour jail sentence. Summer or winter in the Maricopa County Jail (Sheriff Joe's Tent City) is probably the last place you want to spend time, even for 24 hours. During the summer months, you can only strip down so far before you're being hauled back into court on additional criminal charges or, worse yet, making new “friends” in your temporary holding quarters. During the winter months, you're provided a threadbare blanket and what is jokingly called a “pillow”. You have to rely on the two towels which you are allowed to bring in for extra warmth and head support.

One of our Valley's cities now offers an attractive alternative to those sentenced to 48 consecutive hours or less in jail.   Effective March 1, 2011, the Scottsdale Police Department initiated a six-month pilot program (still in effect as of this writing) entitled, “Out of Jurisdiction Confinements” (OJC).  The City of Scottsdale has figured out an ingenious way to generate income  from one of their jail facilities and is offering space to non-violent-misdemeanor defendants convicted in jurisdictions other than the City of Scottsdale.  While you wish you didn't have to spend any time in jail, who wouldn't rather spend 24-48 hours in Scottsdale rather than Tent City?

In addition to the 48-consecutive hours or less sentence, Scottsdale City Jail does have its restrictions. You will not be accepted if you:

  • Have had any alcohol in the last 24 hours prior to your confinement.
  • Attempt to enter the facility with any items not pre-approved.
  • Require any prescribed medications or have any medical condition (the jail does not have medical staff on duty)
  • Require a special diet.
  • Bring any weapons or contraband.
  • You will not be accepted if you are sick, injured or intoxicated.

If sentenced to the Maricopa County Jail, you are allowed to bring:

  • 1 paperback book (subject inspection and approval of jail staff)
  • Up to $40 in quarters for use with the various vending machines (if they're operable)
  • 1 jacket or sweater
  • 1 plastic flashlight with no more than 1 size “C” battery
  • 1 wristwatch and/or 1 wedding band and/or a non-electric clock
  • 1 pair of prescription eye glasses
  • No more than two towels (remember, warmth & pillow!)

If spending time in the Scottsdale City Jail, you are allowed to bring:

  • Reading material limited to two books
  • Writing pad with either one pen or one pencil
  • One layer of clothing, no multiple layers will be allowed
  • Toothpaste/tooth brush
  • Playing Cards

No medications of any kind or valuables, including jewelry and piercings, are permitted at the Scottsdale City Jail.

While you might not realize it, you do pay for the time you are sentenced to jail. If sentenced to the Maricopa County Jail, you can expect to pay approximately $199 for the first day and $74 for each subsequent day thereafter so a 48-hour jail sentence will run you about $273. The Scottsdale City Jail currently charges $189 per day so a 48-hour jail sentence will cost you $378. For approximately $105 more, you can be treated in a more humane manner and be in more comfortable surroundings. If you're health and can pull out those piercings for a day or two, it sounds like a deal to me.

The City of Scottsdale has not yet decided whether it will continue its pilot program, but for now it is definitely a win-win situation for all.

The Law Office of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for more than 20 years.  Contact the DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal consultation if you find yourself facing DUI or criminal charges.

About the Author

Craig Penrod

Craig W. Penrod was born and raised in Arizona and has practiced criminal defense for over 30 years. Mr. Penrod is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, State of Nevada Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

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