Electronic monitoring of offenders has both advantages, risks

More than 2K Marion Co. adults on home detention

INDIANAPOLIS - The safety of electronic monitoring devices for those on parole and house arrest is coming into question after a failure of the system in Colorado.

Five days before Evan Ebel reportedly pulled a trigger to kill two people, his electronic monitoring bracelet stopped working. Parole officers found the problem just hours before the killings, but they were unable to track Ebel.

As of Wednesday evening, Indianapolis had 2,310 adults on home detention, GPS and alcohol monitoring systems.

On average, 10 percent of the people will violate the terms of their home detention by committing minor violations to major crimes. That 216 people violated last month reflects a system has some risk.

"We try to take the proper procedures to ensure they don't commit more crimes," said Elliot Payne, with Marion County Community Corrections. "Ultimately, it comes down to the offender."

Electronic monitoring allows the offender to serve time at home, maintain contact with family, keep a job and pay taxes. At a cost of just $4 per day, it is just one tenth the cost of spending the day in the county jail.

According to community corrections officials, not a single individual on electronic monitoring in Marion County has killed while in the program.

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