Cole County officials are looking to expand their electronic monitoring bracelet program.
The pre-trial service program allows for some low risk citizens to get out of jail before their trial date, while wearing a bracelet that tracks their where-abouts. In the long run, this will save taxpayers a lot of money when it comes to jail expenses because most people that go in, are only there for a short period of time.
“The cost you’re basically talking about is to basically pay for the monitoring service and also for an employee to help us in monitoring the service”, said Richard Lee, pre-trial service program director.
The proposal would involve inmates who are not considered dangerous or a flight risk and those with other court-ordered stipulations.
“They are electronic monitoring bracelets and we’re also talking about the sobriety and we are also talking about the sobriety lengths where we can monitor people who have alcohol problems, where we will know if they are using any type of alcohol”, said Lee.
The majority of the people in jail are not serving time, but those that have not yet been convicted.
Sheriff White said, “some people are out without shackles and have proven very trustworthy on it and some people have a little bit higher degree where you’re not quite as sure, so you put the electronic shackle, the monitor on them”.
To have one person in the jail, it costs $78 a day. Without the brick and mortar costs, things like medical and food expenses equal about $46 a day.
“If you can reduce that by 50% percent and spend, $20 to $25 bucks, by having the person out in a controlled situation where they are monitored, where it’s distinctively cheaper, then we’re saving taxpayer money and meeting the constitutional requirements to ensure that person shows up to court”, says Sheriff White.
Officials do not have an exact cost of the expansion of the program yet, but plan on getting a budget worked out by January 10th.