Monitoring system to save taxpayers money  
Released 7-16 by Lawrence County Commission

Lawrence County commissioners signed an agreement Wednesday, July 27, 2016, that should help cut jail numbers and substantially reduce the cost of housing inmates in other counties, thus saving county taxpayers thousands of dollars a month.

The agreement with LBS Monitoring, LLC, a Lawrence County company, provides for 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week electronic monitoring of inmates approved for the program through the court system.

The numbers are dramatic. Initially, the prosecutor’s office estimated the program could be used for 24 people. These are people who might otherwise sit in jail awaiting a court date or serving a jail sentence for a minor offense. That in turn would enable the county to bring home 18 inmates county taxpayers are currently paying to house in Vernon County because of overcrowding at the Lawrence County Jail.

 

Under the new program, the county would pay $8 or $9 per inmate per day, depending on the type of monitoring, rather than the $30 per day it presently pays Vernon County.

For 18 inmates, that’s a savings of up to $378 per day, or over $11,000 per month.

The county will also save on transportation costs.

The overall cost will decrease even more when defendants reimburse the county for monitoring as part of their sentence.

There are other advantages, noted Presiding Commissioner Sam Goodman. Someone on electronic monitoring might be able to continue working at a job and paying restitution.

“They can be gainfully employed as long as they don’t violate,” said Goodman.

The program  includes alcohol monitoring for DWI offenders.

The prosecutor’s office will make recommendations and the judge will determine when electronic monitoring is a good option.

The agreement stems from a meeting commissioners held earlier this year with judges, the prosecutor’s office and sheriff’s office to discuss ways to alleviate overcrowding in the jail.

 “This probably isn’t an answer for everything, but it’s at least a step in that direction,” said Eastern Commissioner Joe Ruscha. “You do what you can with what you’ve got before you consider asking for more.”

For more information, contact Lawrence County Commission, 417-466-3666