Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Price of inmate bracelets to increase next week

Inmates from the Dane County Jail on
the electronic monitoring diversion program will have to pay more for
their freedom when the price of the Global Positioning System
bracelets increases next week.

In an effort to fund the growing
electronic monitoring program, the Dane County Board voted to
increase the GPS bracelet fee from $15 to $20 per day at their last

The GPS bracelet program allows jail
inmates to be released to seek work, education or childcare while
under monitoring from Dane County Jail.


Currently, 72 inmates are participating
on the electronic Custody Alternative Monitoring Program through the
Dane County Jail, and eight inmates with alcohol and drug abuse
problems are released on an intensive therapy program called

Michelle Shelhamer, the sergeant
assigned to supervise jail diversion programs, said the Dane County
Jail needs to increase the price to pay for the increase in staff
members it takes to monitor inmates in the bracelet program.

?Twenty dollars is actually well
below what our budget analysis showed us,? Shelhamer said.

Screening inmates for eligibility for
the electronic monitoring program is an intense, lengthy process,
which requires many staff members, Shelhamer said. ?There is more
to the program than putting a bracelet on someone,? she added.

By mid-2008, Shelhamer said the jail
hopes to have 200 inmates out on electronic monitoring programs to
help relieve jail space.

?It?s a good program, and it
actually gets peoples back into their families and reduces
recidivism,? said Ashok Kumar, Dane County Board supervisor for the
5th district. ?But what it does is actually deter people from
wanting to be on the program.

?We charge them $20 per day, which is
$600 per month, which is probably twice the rent most people who are
on these programs pay,? Kumar said. ?The Dane County government
is making $50 per day off of every inmate.?

Shelhamer added that the increase also
stems from Sheriff Dave Mahoney?s initiatives to establish a fund
to aid inmates who cannot afford to pay $20 per day for the GPS
bracelet but deserve to be released.

Currently, zero inmates qualify for
indigency, Kumar said.

?It?s impossible to qualify,?
Kumar said. ?You have to be making next-to-no money and be living
out of a homeless shelter just to maybe qualify for indigency.?

Josh Wescott, spokesperson for Dane
County Executive Kathleen Falk, said Falk included the increased
bracelet price to $20 in her budget to ensure the program?s

?[Dane County] needed more money to
meet the projected cost of the program,? Wescott added.

Kumar said the increase is immoral.

?The people that go through the jails
are there because they couldn?t afford bail or child support ?
essentially, like 80 percent of them,? Kumar said. ?What this
does is take from the poorest members of our community, money that
they just simply don?t have because that?s why they are still in
jail in the first place.?

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