Over the past year, Lewis County has seen jail bills double and triple their 2012 totals. But the Lewis County Sheriff's Department is bringing new life to the county's home confinement program, which they said will benefit the community and the people who take part.
"Instead of going to jail and incurring costs for the state and all that, we put them on a home incarceration program where they're not allowed to leave their home unless it's for work or church, or they get approval from the home confinement supervisor," said program coordinator Erin Renzelli.
Renzelli said having participants in the program shouldn't be as big a concern for residents. She said it's the criminals that haven't been caught who should worry them more.
"Just because they're on home confinement, people actually know they're a criminal. But we have criminals who live beside us every day and don't know because they're not wearing a bracelet or haven't been on TV," Renzelli said.
The Lewis County Commission has supported the program, both as a way to help rehabilitate offenders, and keep the costs for county taxpayers down. Commissioner Pat Boyle said he sees a need for the program and anticipates it will grow very quickly.
"That's one of the reasons why we're getting the community corrections up and running as strong as it is, and I expect to have between 35-50 people within 30 to 60 days at least," said Boyle.
Renzelli said it's a good opportunity to try and rehabilitate offenders while still offering them a chance to contribute to the community, but just one mistake will send them back to the regional jails.