Kane County sheriff hopes to reinstate electronic home monitoring by September
The Kane County sheriff's office is working to reinstate the county's electronic home monitoring system, which was discontinued at the end of 2017 for budget reasons.
Sheriff Ron Hain said he hopes by September to have a program in place for defendants sentenced to jail time to serve some or all of their sentences while on home monitoring. The office probably won't have GPS monitoring for defendants awaiting trial for violent crimes, such as domestic abuse, until mid-2020, he said.
Hain said he signed a lease with a company for $2.75 a day for equipment for electronic home monitoring, or EHM, and still needs to hire two to three more deputies for the program, which will be part of the office's "Court Operations Unit."
The EHM fees will be paid, in part, from the jail's food service budget, and the county can realize more savings as it costs about $65 per day to house an inmate at the jail.
"We'll be able to place sentenced offenders, who are unfortunately just sitting in our jail, back at home within a productive environment through our jobs program and link them to employers," he said. "It makes more sense legally for law enforcement to run EHM because we're actual police. So, if there is a violation and we're the enforcers and operators of the program, we can actually effect an arrest, which (the) probation (department) wasn't able to do before."
Since his election in late 2018, Hain has worked to create support programs at the jail.
He cited a case of a defendant, the sole provider for a family of four, who was issued a 180-day jail sentence under a "mandatory minimum" sentence for driving while license suspended. The man was gainfully employed, but whether his job will be there for him after his sentence ends is uncertain.
"We're paying $65 a day for a sentenced offender for a low-level misdemeanor, or you can put them out (on EHM) and put them to work for $2.75 a day," Hain said. "That's what I am most excited about in taking over this program."
Hain on Thursday informed the county board's judicial and public safety committee of the plan.
Bill Lenert, committee chairman and District 5 county board member, said he's looking forward to GPS monitoring returning for defendants awaiting trial.
"It's something we've been concerned about since it was discontinued. I think everyone wants it back," he said.
Hain said he hopes that option will be in place by mid-2020.
"We're going to start slowly with sentenced offenders," he said. "This is a pilot period to test our successes and failures with EHM. Once we have mastered that, we'll move to offering it to (defendants awaiting trial)."