In February 2013, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, established a trendsetting Electronic Monitoring System to allow inmates the ability to keep their current job while fulfilling Missouri’s incarceration requirement.
The system includes an ankle monitor and a tracking device, which is clipped to a belt. If the devices separate so many feet the monitoring service is alarmed and the sheriff’s office is notified.
Participants agree to wear the monitoring equipment 24 hours per day until the completion of their sentence and pay a fee for the service.
Monitoring devices are tailored through GPS software to limit the mobility of those participating.
“The success of the program is profound for those incarcerated on minor crimes. It allows a household to financially function and continue to support the family structure,” said Cottle.
The sheriff’s office recognizes many of the inmates housed are stakeholders in Lincoln County and will return to their families when released. The program improves rehabilitation and reintegration issues inmates typically experience after being released from on periods of incarceration. It also avoids any negative impact psychological effects of incarceration.
“I cannot see where it benefits anyone to lose their job, their family and have nothing upon completing their sentence. I simply do not see how that benefits the community,” said Sheriff Cottle. For some participants, their job went from part time to fulltime.
Only through a court order and job verification are inmates allowed to participate in the program. Each order outlines the previsions of an inmate’s involvement. For instance, a court order will say the participant shall be permitted to leave the jail for work at 7:45 a.m. and return no later than 5:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.
As of June, the sheriff’s office has nearly 20 inmates participating in the work release program.
This program exists with the cooperation and support of the county commissioners, prosecuting attorney’s office and elected judges.
In addition, this program will help establish self-sufficient funding in the anticipation of the expiring Jail Improvement Fund in 2014, which funds building maintenance.