Almanac

News - February 19, 2014

Portola Valley resident given alternative sentence

by Dave Boyce

Stephen Wolf, the former Portola Valley resident who pleaded no contest in March 2013 to one count of possession of child pornography, had been facing eight months in jail starting Feb. 1, but he is serving an alternative sentence instead.

Mr. Wolf is a participant in the Sheriff's Office work-furlough program run by the San Mateo County Alternative Sentencing Bureau (ASB), Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt told the Almanac.

Work-furlough participants must either have a full-time job or be enrolled in school as a full-time student. When he is working, Mr. Wolf is out of custody, but returns to the county's medium security facility when he is not, Ms. Rosenblatt said.

For an inmate to qualify for the program, ASB staff examine letters of recommendation and the inmate's situation, including criminal record and risk to public safety. Candidates must be serving a sentence of more than 90 days.

Asked if jail overcrowding is a factor, Ms. Rosenblatt said it is not. The purpose is to "allow the individual to give back to the community and ... assist the individual in becoming a contributing member of society upon their release," she said in an email.

The county has some 400 people serving alternative sentences and 900 in custody, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Mr. Wolf was arrested in March 2012 and sentenced in December 2013 to three years of supervised probation on the condition that he serve the jail time. He was a resident of Portola Valley at the time of his arrest.

Alternative sentencing does not alter the requirement in Mr. Wolf's sentence that he register for life as a sex offender and participate in a one-year sex-offender treatment program.

Mr. Wolf wears an ankle bracelet that alerts ASB staff immediately if he strays out of the designated route between home and his place of work.

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