LOS ANGELES SHERIFF Lee Baca is an unconventional sort. He seeks to counsel the homeless while other law enforcement leaders prefer to make arrests. He lets Paris Hilton go home when the world seems to want her behind bars. He dukes it out with the county supervisors who control his budget. (That's an animus that goes way back: They supported his rival, incumbent Sheriff Sherman Block, when Baca first ran for the office in 1998. Block died on the eve of the election, and some of the supes declined even then to support Baca, preferring to stick with the dead guy.)
Still, give the sheriff credit. He thinks broadly about fighting crime and running jails, and his most recent foray is a worthy one. Baca has pitched the notion of expanding home detention so that he can move 2,000 low-level inmates from his overcrowded jails and confine them to their homes, where they would be electronically monitored. That would take some pressure off his jails and presumably allow him to cut back the county's widely criticized early release program, under which the vast majority of inmates serve a small fraction of their sentences, usually about 25% and sometimes even less.