Will County’s Alternative Sentencing options

September 30, 2016

Will County’s Alternative Sentencing options.

The cost to house an inmate in the Will County Jail is $97 per day.  If 100 offenders are placed on Electronic Monitoring instead of housing them in jail would save Will County residents $3,385,200 per year!  To save this kind of money for Will County taxpayer’s requires us to have a serious discussion that should include an industry expert.  It is time for all of us to get serious about looking at ways to reduce our taxes.  $3,385,200 would go a long way towards fixing streets, funding the Will County Health Department or simply RETURNING IT TO THE TAXPAYERS!

The Will County Judicial Committee recently discussed the use of Electronic Monitoring.  The committee heard from Adult Probation Officer Eric Larson and previously Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley discuss the use of Electronic Monitoring on low risk offenders.

Eric Larson, who is responsible for the GPS program with the Adult Probation Department indicated in Sunday’s (September 18) Daily Southtown, that he was not enamored with the technology.

Sheriff Mike Kelley indicated previously that electronic monitoring was a “slippery slope” and more “labor intensive”.

I have a couple of concerns about the committee meeting that took place.  To determine if the Electronic Monitoring should or shouldn’t be used, they relied on a probation officer that has very limited use of the technology and a Sheriff that may have another agenda.  The fact remains, we must consider 1) Public Safety and 2) Cost.  In that order.

Will County Adult Probation has had GPS devices on two offenders over the last two years! We’ve had a few more in the Will County Drug Court and some ordered by Court. To compare, Kane County has used Electronic Monitoring for 8 years and have several officers overseeing the program.  Cook County has Electronic Monitoring programs in Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation and the Sheriff’s office.  The State of Illinois monitor close to 3,500 offenders on Electronic Monitoring.  Throughout Illinois, we have approximately 10,000 offenders being monitored on either GPS devices, Home Curfew Devices or Alcohol Monitoring Devices.

A county the size of Will (700,000 residents) should easily have 500 offenders on electronic monitoring.  To have a meeting without an industry expert in attendance, is a disservice to the public.

I want to be clear, monitoring offenders does require staff, facilities and computers.  It is not 100% fool proof, nothing is.  However, compare that to the staffing requirements to house someone in jail, having cells, guards, food, medical care, law suits, etc., it is not even close.

The most successful Electronic Monitoring programs in the country are well thought out. They have very clear policies and regular updates with a committee that over sees it.  Many have money budgeted for the program with a specific number of offenders to be monitored.  I have worked in this industry for over 10 years and have been found to be an expert by Will, Cook and Kane County courts. I work closely with numerous State and County programs throughout the country.  As a lifelong resident of Joliet, my purpose of following up on this matter is not to gain business for myself, but to save taxpayers money. $3,385,200 to be exact, or more!

We can do this in such a way that it could be a successful program for the community, the low risk offender and the courts.  No longer shall we rely on narrow minded individuals but instead listen to industry experts to how to properly build a successful alternative program for the entire community.

David J. Talarico

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