Cost Savings Drive Increased Use of Ankle Braceletsed

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Communities are turning to electronic monitoring and GPS tracking as an alterative to jailing kids. Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice has been using these alternatives for years, according to Scheree Moore, the department’s director of communications

Moore calls it an alternative to incarcerating youth and another way to help them. She adds that wraparound programs go with this kind of monitoring, such as in-home counseling and sending a behavior specialist to school with a child.

Georgia uses two kinds of ankle bracelets: electronic monitors and GPS. Electronic monitoring tells where the child is and if he or she is out of bounds. About 200 kids are currently on electronic monitored ankle bracelets. GPS is used for higher risk kids because it follows and tracks them wherever they go.

The use of ankle bracelets for children is expanding for several reasons. First, it’s a lot cheaper than detainment. Electronic monitoring costs $5.25 a day and GPS costs $8.75 a day in Georgia. Those are huge savings when compared to the average cost of detaining a child, which runs about $235 a day.

Second, some researchers believe home monitoring is a better way to deal with teen crime. In Georgia, the decision on whether a child is eligible for an ankle bracelet is made by a judge. Both options can be used before or after adjudication.

In the last 24 hours three cities with significant juvenile crime problems have announced new programs to put kids on ankle bracelets. WESH-TV reports that Daytona Beach will start out with 12 monitors next month for nonviolent offenders. Washington, D.C. is piloting a GPS monitoring program to keep kids away from the tough environment inside jails, according to the Washington Examiner. And Memphis is even using ankle monitors for kids who’ve been caught with guns, according to WPTY-TV.

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