Sheriff's Work Program / Public Service Program


The Courts of Santa Clara County identify low-risk offenders and sentence them to the Sheriff’s Work Program as an alternative to jail.

The Sheriff’s Work Program (SWP) is an alternative program for jail sentences. SWP serves several purposes: Low-risk offenders do not have to go to jail, which reduces employment difficulties and related financial burdens for both the individual as well as society. Also, serving in the Sheriff’s Work Program provides a valuable service to the community.

The Programs Unit - Custody Bureau oversees the SWP operation. The program is designed to have the citizens of our community, who have committed crimes, to serve their sentences in a productive and cost-effective manner. SWP participants have been thoroughly screened by the Courts and the Probation Department prior to being accepted into the program.

SWP participants participate in the program at no cost to them. Therefore, the program puts no financial burden on the citizens of Santa Clara County or Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. The participants serve their sentences on weekdays and weekends, allowing them to retain their regular employment.

The Programs Unit has established approximately 67 locations throughout the County where participants can work. The participants normally report to these sites to complete their sentences.

Some of the various agencies that utilize SWP workers are the City of San Jose (Christmas in the Park, Roads Department, Parks Department), County Roads and Airport Division, County Parks Division, California Department of Transportation and various baseball Little Leagues.

Under strict guidelines, the great benefit from SWP is that participants can complete their jail sentences without entering the jail environment, and perform a valuable public service in the process.

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