Butler County sheriff advocates ankle monitors as jail alternative

Putting more convicted criminals on GPS ankle monitoring systems will help ease the Butler County Jail population and save money, according to Sheriff Richard Jones, who said judges are on board with the idea. STAFF FILE PHOTO

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Putting more convicted criminals on GPS ankle monitoring systems will help ease the Butler County Jail population and save money, according to Sheriff Richard Jones, who said judges are on board with the idea. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Putting more convicted criminals on GPS ankle monitoring systems will help ease the Butler County Jail population, according to Sheriff Richard Jones, who said judges are on board with the idea.

“If I could eliminate 20 local prisoners or even 30, the cost of housing prisoners versus an ankle bracelet … It would be a cost savings,” Jones recently told Butler County commissioners during annual budget hearings.

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He said some counties have 200 prisoners on ankle monitors, but he would want to start out with a more manageable number, maybe 25, and he would need to hire people to handle the 24/7 program.

Jones estimated it would cost $5 a day — $1,825 a year — per prisoner to rent monitors.

Butler County Common Pleas Court has some monitors — including ones that detect if someone ordered not to drink alcohol takes a sip or if someone on house arrest leaves a certain area — but the program is not used much, according to Court Administrator Wayne Gilkison.

Gilkison said the judges fully support the sheriff running a monitoring system.

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“It’ll afford the county as a whole another option for supervising people that get released from the jail that we don’t have right now,” he said.

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