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Ankle bracelet usage down for offenders

Andy Ouriel • Mar 11, 2014 at 9:26 AM

A recent trend of more people committing serious crimes in Erie County forced officials to outfit fewer of them with electronic monitoring bracelets.


Anywhere from 30 to 40 people currently charged with serious crimes and awaiting trial have GPS technology strapped around their ankles, tracking their whereabouts.

The current number represents a sizable decrease from the 45 to 50 people on felony footwear during the past couple years, said Karen Volz, the county’s chief probation officer.

The number of people wearing the ankle bracelets for judicial reasons constantly fluctuates.

“Unfortunately, we have seen more severe and more violent crimes” Volz said.    Judges determine who’s eligible for a bracelet and take into account the severity of a crime, such as drug offenses and domestic violence charges, before doling them out.

Inmates facing more serious charges, such as murder, cannot participate in the program.

Ankle monitoring bracelets have achieved some sizable feats in Erie County. From July 2009 through June 2012, the county saved $1.75 million by outfitting people with these bracelets rather than sending them to jail.

On average, county taxpayers spend $60 a day on each inmate, mostly for food and medical costs.

Ankle monitoring systems work as such: The system triangulates a person’s position through GPS technology inside a tiny computer, which is strapped around a person’s ankle. Satellites then relay the person’s location onto a digital map, where officials can track the person’s every move.

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