Kane Co. may pay fee for electronic home monitoring

Posted5/15/2010 12:01 AM

Overcrowding at the relatively new Kane County jail may push officials to send more inmates home along with the parting gift of a taxpayer-funded accessory: an electronic monitor wrapped about their ankles.

The month of April saw the jail once again average more prisoners than beds, forcing the county to pay up to $75 a day to house inmates in other jurisdiction's jails, according to Chief Judge F. Keith Brown.


That's a cost the county stopped budgeting for when the new jail opened.

The county hoped electronic home monitoring would bring some relief for the overcrowding problem. But the monitoring comes with a per-day cost charged to the person being monitored, and that's exactly why it hasn't brought relief to the jail population.

Judges have found that nonviolent inmates who qualify for monitoring are reporting more and more that they cannot afford the daily fee.

Brown said Friday he's considering a new option that will spend money to save money. Instead of charging the prisoner the daily cost of home monitoring, Brown said it may make more sense to use tax dollars from his departmental budget to pay the fee on the former inmate's behalf. That option, he said, is cheaper than keeping the person in jail.

"Anytime you can reduce the jail population, it will be saving us," Brown said. "I'm not going to say that we're going to take 20 people out of the jail. It will be on a case-by-case basis."