Scioto County just got an $11,150.50 invoice from the Portsmouth Municipal Court for electronic monitoring services for defendants. And that’s just for the month of October alone. The PMC billed the County for monitoring 53 defendants for 769 days at a rate of $14.50 cents per day.
According to County Commission Chairman Mike Crabtree, that’s actually a little low. The bill has been averaging $12,000 per month. How much are defendants paying towards the monitoring services that allow them to get out of jail to work and live their lives? A big, fat zero, according to information revealed at the Tuesday County Commissioner’s meeting.
Commissioner Bryan Davis said those numbers bothered him as a taxpayer. “Indigent defense is one thing, but house monitoring is another. Here we see another month where the defendants paid zero dollars.”
Davis said that if defendants aren’t able to for their monitoring perhaps they could be put to work as part of the work release program cleaning up highways or on other projects. He said he hoped a program could be put in place in the near future.
Commissioner Crabtree said that it’s possible that those already working on the work release program are among those who are paying zero towards the monitoring, though he couldn’t confirm any numbers. He went on to say that the reaction to the work release program has been overwhelmingly positive.
Commissioner Cathy Coleman agreed, saying that while there may be some skepticism about work release, it was a good thing and that more programs like it can be expected in the future.