Violation of Probation in Lieu Night Court - Sacramento Superior Court

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Court: Los Angeles Superior Court
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    Sacramento County: Justice is Served Efficiently with VOP In Lieu Night Court (Video)
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Overview/Program Description:

The Violation of Probation In Lieu Night Court (VOP Court) is a unique, innovative, efficient, cost-effective, and just way of relieving congested court calendars and reducing main jail overcrowding while holding probationers accountable for their criminal conduct. It takes cases where a defendant who is already on felony probation for a prior non-violent, non-serious offense, commits a new non-violent, non-serious offense, and effectively resolves the case through a violation of probation instead of filing new charges. The VOP Court establishes meaningful punishment for probation violators while rewarding those who do not re-offend. Most importantly, reducing the number of felony and misdemeanor case filings provides a more economical use of limited resources while continuing Sacramento County's long tradition of protecting both individual rights and public safety. This program was the result of the collaborative work of the Sacramento County Criminal Justice Cabinet.

The VOP Court redirects 15 percent of misdemeanor and felony case filings that meet certain criteria, such as drug-related offenses, property crimes, and other non-violent offenses, from new complaints to petitions alleging a violation of probation in the VOP Court.

Program Benefits/Savings:

It has provided significant cost and operational savings to the criminal justice system while holding probationers accountable. The program saves money by reducing the number of court appearances by the offender, thereby reducing the number of resources required and the number of jail bed days occupied. Of the 4,403 VOP cases filed in the last two years, 76 percent were resolved within one to two court appearances. In addition, prior to the VOP Court, a defendant with a probation violation would stay in jail for an average of 45 days while their case progressed through the court system. Cases now are usually resolved in 13 or fewer days. A faster resolution of cases helps alleviate overcrowding at the jail. The program met the expected objectives for the criminal justice partners while satisfying the overarching goal of more efficient use of limited resources without diminishing core mandates of swift, significant, and fair consequences; protection of individual rights; ease overcrowded jail systems; timely, enhanced remedies for probation violations; and a fair criminal justice system.