Legislators approve electronic monitoring of offenders

electronic monitoringby Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Legislature voted Thursday to allow the Probation Department to use a GPS tracking system and electronic bracelets to monitor criminals who are awaiting court action.

The system is expected to help alleviate jail overcrowding by providing around-the-clock tracking of offenders in their homes.

A contract with Sentinel Offender Services would cost the county an estimated $4 to $9 a day per offender. The probation department would initially lease 10 units and expand capacity as the need arises. The program would be funded through bail fees and existing alternatives to incarceration funds.

Oswego County Probation Director Deborah Meyer worked with Sheriff Reuel “Moe” Todd to seek alternatives to incarceration. Legislator Jake Mulcahey commended them for the work they did to provide a solution to the jail overcrowding.

The cost of boarding prisoners in facilities outside Oswego County has exceeded $1 million since the beginning of 2012.

A number of officers within the sheriff’s department have begun training and testing the equipment.

In a related matter, the legislature approved the purchase of nine cars for the sheriff’s department, reduced from a request for 12 at a cost of $234,000.

Legislator Doug Malone said he had a problem with the purchase of the cars because the legislature approved new cars for the sheriff earlier this year.

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