We agree with Lorraine Lambert's letter, "Alternatives to Jail to Ease Overcrowding" (May 19). We believe most criminal justice practitioners would concur with her astute and concerned assessment of the jail overcrowding issue.
However, while new alternatives to jail are imperative, your readers should understand that many such programs are in place in Orange County at this time. Our judges regularly use alcohol and drug diversion programs instead of jail terms. Our highways and beaches are being cleaned by the 220 inmates on work-release programs. Another 130 inmates are part of weekend programs.
It's not necessary for us to look at other communities to learn how to develop programs for inmates. In many cases Orange County has led the way, and we should be very proud of the efforts of the Probation Department, other members of the criminal justice community, judges and even the private sector.
The problem isn't that we don't have alternatives to confinement. It is that our progressive, tough-on-crime county has reached a point where additional quality alternatives are difficult to find.
Sheriff/Coroner, Orange County