Some people are denied release from jail with an ankle bracelet because they can’t afford the $400 a month cost, NPR.com reports.
Every state except Hawaii, plus the District of Columbia, allows or requires the person wearing an ankle bracelet to pay the cost, an NPR survey found.
“Sometimes that means people with money get to go home, while those without go to jail,” the NPR story reported.
The story cites the case of Tom Barrett, an Augusta, Ga., man who stole a can of beer in a convenience store in 2012. He was sentenced to 12 months of probation and could be released provided he wears an ankle bracelet.
“Fees to wear such a device include a
$12 daily fee, $50 set-up fee
and $39 monthly fee”
He couldn’t pay the approximately $400 a month cost, so was ordered back to jail. Superior Court Judge Daniel Craig later released him without the ankle device. Craig later expanded his ruling to put a temporary stop to forcing people to pay for ankle bracelets. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the case later this year.
In the states surveyed, state legislators passed the cost to a person who would otherwise go to jail if they did not pay. The fees to wear such a device include a $12 daily fee, $50 set-up fee and $39 monthly fee to a private probation company. Barrett receives food stamps and sells his plasma to pay the rent.
“Most courts use sliding-scale fees, based on how much the offender can pay. Or, the company (that provides the devices) tells them how to find grant money to help poor people pay for the monitors,” NPR reported.