Local Probation Dept. requests $100,000 to track criminals at home




Posted on December 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--Spokane City leaders think they have a permanent solution to keeping some inmates out of jail. That solution is to track more criminals at home.

GPS ankle bracelets or portable breathalyzers are becoming more popular in the court system instead of throwing a low level offender in jail.

You could get slapped with a home monitoring device if you commit a crime like DUI or theft in Spokane.

Judges decide which perpetrators have a low chance of becoming a repeat offender and give City probation officers permission to use electronic home monitoring devices.

The devices are so successful in Spokane that 1% of all City misdemeanor offenders being tracked at home repeat the same offense.

Judges are issuing more tracking devices which means there is a greater need.

Probation Department leaders wants $100,000 more in 2014 for the tracking devices. That money would come from the City's portion of the County Jail budget. It could prove to cost effective in the end.

The average inmate costs tax payers about $136 per day. It only costs the City about $5 to $13 per day to rent a monitoring device from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

The offender is usually responsible to pay back at least a portion of that cost.

The City said it is a win-win. They said it keeps more jail beds empty and low level offenders on probation can keep their job, stay with their families and hopefully get back on the right track.

City Council will vote to approve the budget transfer at the beginning of the New Year. They will also discuss hiring creating a new probation officer position to keep up with added demand.