Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
Allegheny County Restrictive Conditions Plan
(formally known as the County Intermediate punishment Plan)
Per 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 9805 and 9806, the County Prison Board (Board) may develop a plan for the implementation and operation of intermediate punishment programs in said county.
On December 18, 2019, Governor Tom Wolfe signed into law Act 115 which reclassified county intermediate punishment (CIP) to probation with restrictive conditions. This act eliminated CIP as a distinct sentencing option and treats it now as part of county probation.
For the most part the term “county intermediate punishment” is simply replaced by references to probation with restrictive conditions. Allegheny County Adult Probation will continue to operate a successful electronic monitoring program going forward.
1. Assessment of available countywide correctional services and future needs
The Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) is a detention and incarceration facility based on a podular (pods) design with direct supervision. The ACJ has 35 living units/pods on eight two-level floors. It opened with a capacity of 1,850 but provided for expansion and today with the changes
made over the years to accommodate housing of specialized populations, the current capacity is 3,183. During a typical day, the number of releases is slightly fewer than admissions,
(Allegheny County Jail Population Information).
The Allegheny County Adult Probation Department’s Electronic Monitoring (EM) Program, along with other alternative housing sites, play a crucial role in keeping the jail population from exceeding capacity.
In addition, the EM program enables offenders to remain in the community where they can continue to work, support their family, attend drug and alcohol counseling, and give back through community service opportunities.
The Allegheny County Adult Probation Department’s Electronic Monitoring Program is a safe and cost-effective option to help reduce the jail population, which would be considerably larger if EM was not an available sentencing alternative.
Electronic monitoring provides an alternative to the mandatory jail sentences on eligible cases. These include sentences for Driving under the Influence (DUI), Drug Court, DUI Court, and Driving under Suspension (DUS), DUI related 1543(b) cases.
In addition, electronic monitoring is utilized for Drug Court and DUI Court offenders, as well as other cases such as; pretrial defendants as a condition of bail, for probation and parole detainees, for offenders sentenced to the jail who are court transferred to EM,
for offenders sanctioned due to probation and parole violations and for Veterans and Mental Health Court cases. Electronic monitoring is also available for individuals who are sentenced in Sex Offense Court as an added layer of supervision for this population.
To effectively manage the number of sentenced DUIs that are processed in Allegheny County, the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania has two alternative sentencing options, the DUI Alternative to Jail Program and the Therapeutic Housing Program at the Renewal Center.
The DUI Alternative to Jail Program is designed for DUI offenders who are required by statute to serve 48 to 72-hour sentences. Section 4 of this plan provides details of the DUI Alternative to Jail Program.
The Therapeutic Housing Program at the Renewal Center was designed to provide work release and treatment through therapeutic alternatives to incarceration for adults in the criminal justice system. The Therapeutic Housing Program was created because the
court recognized the value in combining strict supervision of offenders with work and treatment. This combination improves public safety by restricting the offender as he/she participates in treatment and it
helps them maintain their connection with employment and family so they can leave the program with positive connections to the community and the ability to pay restitution and fees. This alternative housing
approach is an evidence-based program that provides a therapeutic environment composed of safe and secure housing, a structured living environment, family visits, work release and job placement,
access to substance abuse treatment, and support and reentry planning for successful transition to the community.
Target Groups for Therapeutic Housing: Restrictive Intermediate Punishment.
- Male and female DUI offenders with a mandatory minimum sentence of 5, 10, 30 or 90 days are eligible for the program. Offenders who fall within these categories are for second DUI offense, Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels and third DUI offense, Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels.
- Non-violent male and female offenders are eligible for the program. These offenders have committed offenses that warrant a county sentence, but “do not demonstrate a present or past pattern of violent behavior.” The maximum length of sentence is 180 days.
Future Needs: Electronic monitoring supervision is a critical component to the success of county intermediate punishment. In 2019, there was an average of 856 individuals, per month, supervised by the electronic monitoring program. If not for the county IP program these
individuals would have been incarcerated as level 3 and 4 offenders under the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission guidelines. Despite the implementation of the Therapeutic Housing and the DUI Alternative to Jail Programs, EM probation officers continue to have high caseloads.
Although the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) provides funding to support county intermediate punishment, it only covers full salary and benefits for three probation officers assigned to Drug Court and three probation officers assigned to supervise other
intermediate punishment sentences. In addition, grant funds pay for a portion of the salaries (but no benefits) for a manager, supervisor, six probation officers, and two support personnel involved in the supervision of offenders who are diverted from potential sentences of
incarceration. An increase in funding to cover the full salaries and benefits of the EM personnel working to increase public safety and provide rehabilitative opportunities to offenders on county intermediate punishment is a crucial future need.
2. Review of current sentencing procedures and the impact these procedures have on county correctional resources.
The Allegheny County Adult Probation Department’s 2019 year-end statistics illustrate the following sentencing practices in Allegheny County:
- Probation = 15,775 offenders
- Parole = 1,051 offenders
- Electronic Monitoring = 720 offenders
- ARD = 3,011 offenders
- Probation without Verdict = 251 offenders
Additional sentencing procedures consist of incarceration at the Allegheny County Jail and the use of alternative housing programs for inmates sentenced to the jail. Without the sentencing option of electronic monitoring and alternative housing the jail would be overcrowded.
3. Review of current alternatives to pretrial detention and the potential these programs have for affecting the jail population.
In January of 2007, the Allegheny County Pretrial Services Department was created. Bail Services is a division of the Allegheny County Pretrial Services Department and is divided into three separate units. The Bail Investigative Unit conducts all initial investigations at the
Allegheny County Jail; the Bail Liaison Unit is responsible for all presentations of bail matters to the court; and the Pretrial Supervision Unit is charged with the task of supervising all defendants who are court ordered to pretrial supervision.
The mission of Allegheny County Pretrial Services Department is to provide accurate and timely information to assist the court in making informed decisions regarding bond, competency, and treatment. Bail Services works to supervise and monitor defendants
in a respectful manner, utilizing cost-effective measures for the community, and promoting compliance with court orders and court appearances, while supporting public safety (Pretrial Services).
Electronic monitoring serves as an alternative to pretrial detention for defendants while awaiting the adjudication of pending charges. During the 2019 calendar year, 217 pretrial defendants were transferred to pretrial electronic monitoring for a more intensive level of supervision,
averaging 120.5 days on pretrial electronic monitoring. On December 31, 2019, there were 111 defendants on pretrial electronic monitoring.
4. Description of the existing resources in the county that can be used as intermediate punishment or services to offenders sentenced to intermediate punishment.
Allegheny County's Electronic Monitoring program applies the following two approaches in meeting probation with restrictive condition sentences.
- Provide electronic monitoring supervision for offenders eligible for probation with restrictive conditions in Allegheny County. There are several different caseloads within the EM unit. Three probation officers are assigned to the pretrial caseload,
four probation officers are assigned to Drug Court and five probation officers are assigned to DUI Court. The remaining cases are assigned by risk to a high, medium or low risk probation officer. A supervision case plan is established for all cases, and
offenders are referred to services such as; cognitive based therapy, education services, employment services along with drug and alcohol testing and evaluations.
- Continue the use of non-electronic intensive supervision, which allows a step-down to less restrictive levels of supervision when appropriate and permitted by law.
The electronic monitoring program is in its 32nd year of operation. The department has a manager, three supervisors, 31 probation officers, which includes a Drug Court coordinator and a DUI Court coordinator, nine full-time support staff and six part-time monitoring staff.
The program operates 24 hours a day/seven days a week and answers the emergency telephone number for the Allegheny County Adult Probation Department after normal business hours. The probation officers in the EM unit screen cases referred by the court for electronic monitoring,
install the monitoring equipment, set the conditions of supervision, and work directly with offenders in the community. Probation officers assist offenders, so they have an opportunity to become contributing members of the community. Probation officers closely monitor offenders
so that conditions of supervision ordered by the court are enforced. Offenders who violate the rules of electronic monitoring receive sanctions that could lead to a revocation hearing before the court.
Regarding Drug Court and DUI Court, the following model is in place:
- Identification by the District Attorney’s Office of level 2, 3, and 4 offenders, according to sentencing guidelines, with alcohol and/or substance use disorders that meet statutory requirements for county intermediate
punishment as specified in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9802 under "eligible offender."
- Assessments and evaluations are conducted to determine the necessary level of treatment and monitoring via case management.
- Transfer of detained probation cases when appropriate.
- Referral to treatment programs/services as part of their probation with restrictive conditions sentence.
- The model is a team approach where Allegheny County Adult Probation provides the supervision of the court-imposed conditions and treatment oversight/monitoring via case management.
Although primarily involved in the identification and supervision of probation with restrictive condition offenders, the EM program also works with other offender supervision categories. These additional case types include defendants on pretrial EM status,
detained probation and parole violation cases, referred to as “detainer” cases, offenders sentenced to the Allegheny County Jail but serving the sentence on EM, and offenders sanctioned with EM for probation and parole violations.
In 2019, the electronic monitoring program had a monthly average of 856 offenders under supervision. The number of EM cases continually presents challenges for the unit. Nevertheless, statistics for calendar year 2019 have demonstrated that the unit has been successful
in meeting these challenges. During 2019, 1,648 new offenders were assigned to electronic monitoring. The in-program recidivism for an offender assigned to electronic monitoring in 2019 was 7.3% which means over 90% of the offenders completed the program successfully.
In addition, the electronic monitoring program saved a total of 341,495 jail days in 2019. The EM program operates without a waitlist, and all eligible offenders in the ACJ are placed on EM within 48 hours of the program receiving an order from the court, and all other
eligible offenders are scheduled for an installation within one week of the program receiving an order from the court.
The DUI Alternative to Jail Program has been in existence since 2010. This program is informally referred to as the “DUI Hotel” and is structured so that offenders serve restrictive intermediate punishment sentences at the program for convictions of eligible DUI offenses.
The goals of the program are to reduce DUI recidivism among offenders who attend this program, provide an alternative to electronic monitoring or incarceration in the jail, reduce the total number of short-term electronic monitoring sentences imposed by the court, and enable
DUI offenders who are sentenced to the program to complete alcohol education classes and mandated alcohol treatment to fulfill their Alcohol Highway Safety Program requirements. The program also provides substantive education pertaining to the individual and societal costs of
driving under the influence and provides cognitive-based interventions designed to positively influence future driving behavior. This program collaborates with other stakeholders who are currently involved in the prosecution, treatment, and punishment of convicted DUI offenders.
The program’s participants are convicted DUI offenders eligible for intermediate punishment sentences in lieu of minimum sentences of 48 hours and 72 hours of incarceration. DUI offenders sentenced to this pay a set fee, which covers their intermediate punishment treatment
requirements, the hotel room and food. Offenders who fail to successfully complete this program are returned to court for re-sentencing.
In 2019, 489 individuals successfully completed the program. The program continues to operate out of three local hotels and have an average class size of 30 participants. The DUI Alternative to Jail Program is conducted from Thursday evening through Sunday evening.
The program continues to contribute to keeping low risk/need offenders and short sentence cases off electronic monitoring, which enables the electronic monitoring unit to concentrate on higher risk/need offenders.
5. Formulation of policy statements targeted to the needs identified by the county and the impact these policies will have on the use of confinement and intermediate punishment.
The Allegheny County Adult Probation Department’s mission is to provide effective community-based alternatives to incarceration, improve public safety, partner with community and law enforcement resources and promote positive behavioral changes from offenders.
Allegheny County’s intermediate punishment program supports the department’s mission by its commitment to reducing the jail population through the effective supervision of eligible offenders placed on electronic monitoring and intensive supervision.
6. The development of goals and objectives, which are aimed at effective utilization of existing and projected correctional resources.
- To reduce the jail population through effective supervision practices focused on public safety and the rehabilitation of offenders.
- To place eligible offenders sentenced to intermediate punishment on electronic monitoring without undue delay.
- To effectively manage the electronic monitoring population, especially with intermediate punishment cases, which is the largest offender group being placed on electronic monitoring.
7. The development of an evaluation strategy, which measures the qualitative and quantitative performances of all programs.
Electronic monitoring performance measures are submitted to the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board on a monthly basis. The statistics include the population of the various case supervision types on EM, outcome measures for those who complete EM, and the number of
jail days saved through the use of EM. In addition, quarterly program reports are submitted to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which measure the performance of the intermediate punishment program.