Offenders can soon upgrade from Tent City to Scottsdale jail

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – If you are arrested and held in jail you may soon be able to upgrade to some better cell accommodations for a price.

Everyone pays to go to jail but in Scottsdale it will cost you more than at Tent City. Beginning March 1 more people may have Scottsdale as an option in Maricopa County.

“There's six beds at Via Linda Facility used for Scottsdale City Court people come spend two days here in jail and what the pilot program is…would expand that to any jurisdiction statewide as long as it's approved by the court,” Scottsdale Police Sgt. Mark Clark said. “Has to be non-violent offenders, can't be anyone with special needs or medical needs. We're not adding any more resources. We're offsetting existing costs to run the jail.”

Scottsdale faces a $20 million budget shortfall and officials are hoping to bring in several hundred thousand dollars though this pilot program.

Offenders will be charged $189 a day, which is roughly what Tent City costs the first day. The second day at Tent City is about $80.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he understands Scottsdale wanting to save money but says, “I use the tents and our jail system as a deterrent so hope people in Scottsdale never do another violation cause they hate being in tents with others.”

The Scottsdale jail has 14 beds total and can only hold people for 48 hours.

This option would only be available for misdemeanor offenders and the pilot program is only six months long before city officials evaluates if this is the best way to recoup jail costs.