GPS Bracelets Could Help Jail Overcrowding and Save Tax Money

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HARRISONBURG, Va -- GPS tracking bracelets are not a common sight in the Valley. We have all heard of celebrities, like Lindsay Lohan, wearing these and now Rudy Dean in the Valley is wearing one. If these GPS bracelets were to take off here, it might be something we would need to get more used to seeing.

Mike Donovan at Nexus Programs specializes in GPS monitoring systems for pre-trial defendants. If an inmate cannot afford to pay bond, Nexus will cover the fee as long as the defendant wears a GPS device.

"When they get out, we will put them on a tracking bracelet,” said Donovan. “They are responsible for the cost. Instead of the tax payers paying $60 to $70 a day, the defendant pays $10 or $11."

This system will track the person 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and I will keep track of where they go, how fast, and when. Any restrictions ruled by the judge can be easily monitored.

"The banding of the bracelet has stainless steal rivets. That make it so it cannot be cut off. If you are using a professional metal cutter, it will take about 30 minutes to cut through the entire bracelet, and the moment that you initially start cutting the authorities are notified. So, the bracelet, as far as GPS tracking devices go, is one of the most secure in making sure that people can't remove it or tamper with it."

Cindy Carr is the spokeswoman for Dean and she said this bracelet is something she hopes more people will use. She said that Dean is trying to get his life back together.

"You can never get back the six months that you sit in jail without bond, but at least he didn't have to add to that," said Carr.

The use of this device could greatly reduce jail overcrowding as well as tax money, since the bracelets are fully funded by the defendant.

"Ten or eleven-dollars sounds expensive, but think about it, that's one or two working hours a day,” said Donovan. “So, instead of sitting in jail and doing nothing, a person can come out get to work and be a more productive member of society."

Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson said it is not something that they are planning on implementing. It would be up to the judge whether this becomes more popular in the Valley.

Donovan said he hopes to have at least 20 more pre-trial inmates out on bond this year and using this GPS tracking bracelet.

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