My compliments to the Orange County Probation Department officials who will look for alternatives to keeping lesser offenders in the overcrowded Orange County Jail.
Reading the article (March 20) and all the recent publicity about the federal order to provide sleeping accommodations for each inmate in the jail, it appears that Orange County has been told to get its act together or start paying in dollars for disobeying the court order.
Sheriff Gates and the Board of Supervisors insist they have been busy, but their solution won't be ready until 1987. With about 100 more felons per week assigned to California correctional institutions, 1987 doesn't make much sense.
The work-furlough arrangement with STS Graphics surely can be extended to other companies. An alternative of sentencing a lesser offender to employment rather than to an institution is a far superior solution.
Orange County officials have a very short time to decide on something to satisfy the order of the federal judge before fines are imposed. It can't be the building projects which won't be finished until 1987 so there had better be some alternatives.
Orange County is going to appoint a panel to study jail overcrowding. Of course we are. And then we can appoint a committee to go into the problem "in depth"--and by the time we're through studying the problem we could house these criminals in a hotel.
We live in a civilized country. We need civilized jails. We do not need for convicted criminals to be released into society for lack of space to house them. The population votes against building new jails because they don't want their taxes raised. It's time that decisions involving basic humanity be taken out of the hands of the general populace; protect us from ourselves.