CHICAGO (WLS) – Cook County is currently facing more than three thousand people charged with crimes wearing shackles to help authorities keep track of things; electronic surveillance has increased by more than 30 percent in the past year and a half. Many have been on monitors for a year or more. All of this is the aim of a snappy new report.
“Ultimately, electronic surveillance is often billed as an alternative to incarceration. And we’ve learned that it’s really an alternative form of incarceration that results in people being blocked around the clock in their homes, often around the clock, ”said Sarah Staudt with the Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts.
Who is incarcerated in Cook County Jail awaiting trial and who is being released on a GPS-connected electronic monitor has been the focus of an investigation by the Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts, a non-partisan research organization advocating a fair and accessible justice system . Their data, verified by the I-Team, shows that nearly three-quarters of those with electronic surveillance are black; and eight out of ten people released into domestic custody in Cook County also had to pay cash bail to get out of prison.
“Which is just a double punishment that doesn’t help anyone. We have also found that most people who are electronically monitored are extremely successful and are often extremely successful over a long period of time that is unlikely to need to be kept on the program, “said Staudt.
Sheriff Tom Dart administers the nation’s largest electronic pre-trial surveillance system. A darts spokesperson tells the I-Team that judges are putting accused criminals on the bracelet and that this is not a long-term solution to the increasing violence. As reported by the I-Team and Dart’s office found: 75 percent of those who are electronically monitored are charged with violent crimes, dozen are accused of murder and are still released.
“We should think about what it looks like to pull out of a program that is causing so much damage in our communities and move towards a system where people who have a free screening are genuinely free and enjoying their lives to the full can. “Said Staudt.
Thursday and Friday we asked Tim Evans, Chief Cook County Judge, for his response to the critical assessment of electronic home surveillance. On both days, a spokesman for Judge Evans said they are still reviewing the 18-page report.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office Full Statement:
“The judiciary orders people to be monitored electronically, determines how long they stay in the program and restricts their freedom of movement. The report reflects many of the complaints the sheriff’s office has had for years about the use of the program. The population on EM has grown significantly and does not provide a solution to the very real public safety and criminal justice problems in Chicago. The truth is that over 75% of those who have electronic surveillance face violent charges, including 96 for murder and 131 for murder. sexual assault and 254 habitual armed crime charges. The Sheriff’s Office is doing its best to run an EM program that enforces court orders aimed at preventing new crimes and ensuring defendants do not escape their charges without doing excessively being restrictive. This report that the sheriff’s EM program is routinely punished excessively and unnecessarily is simply unfounded. “
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