Bail/release program creating huge savings for Lycoming County

It costs $70 a day to house a Lycoming County inmate out of the county.

So obviously, when the county can prevent that, it’s a welcome, saved expense.

Enter its bail/release program, which was so effective and oft-used in 2018 it saved the county more than $3 million.

The bail-release program encompasses supervised bail, intensive supervised bail and intensive supervised release, which hosts driving-under-supervision and domestic cases.

Recently, the bail-release program has expanded to include all levels of supervision for pre-trial defendants and sentenced inmates, as selected by the courts.

No one is eligible for the program without approval of the courts. Once eligible, there are interviews, a risks/ needs assessment, considerations of previous criminal activity and a home inspection.

The program comes with conditions including drug and alcohol surveillance and reporting requirements.

Conditions do get violated and those violations land the person in prison.

But when it works, it saves the use of a bed in the County Prison, keeps the prison from being overcrowded and eliminates the need to send the inmate to another county.

In 2018, the bail/release program saved 52,367 bed days, with a daily average number of participants of 165 in December.

The numbers say this is a program that is working and should be continued and expanded as much as possible – as long as the individuals are meeting court approval guidelines and can be properly monitored to assure they are living up to the program’s guidelines.