WALKER -- The Cass County Probation Department's annual report shows an increased use of probation and electronic home monitoring since the county's jail has reached its capacity.
In 2002, 33 people were serving time on electronic home monitoring, which increased to 48 in 2003 and 81 the first six months of this year. People serving their time on electronic home monitoring pay $15 per day for the service to Watchguard monitoring company. The cost for that service to the county is $12 to $13 per day.
The 81 offenders serving time on electronic home monitoring through June this year served 2,708 days on the system, generating $6,139 income.
Had offenders served the same amount of time in jail from January through June 2004, the county would have paid $84,672 to board the adults at neighboring jails and $95,344 to board juveniles at detention centers for the same number of days as served on monitoring.
There were 481 offenders serving probation in Cass County for convictions on 589 cases in 1994. Only 67 probation violation reports were written that year.
The number on probation this year through June has increased to 593 people serving probation on 767 cases. The probation department wrote 180 violation reports through June this year.
One probation department program that has proven successful is the diversion program. It is designed to keep first-time juvenile offenders out of the court system and prevent re-offending.
There have been 541 juveniles referred to the program since 1995. There has been only a 30 percent recidivism rate among those completing the program.
A home-based at-risk program designed to help families whose children are at risk for out-of-home placement began in 1994 with 11 clients and has served 23 to 40 clients annually since then.
The probation department estimates, at an average $61.50 per day to house children outside their own homes, the county has saved about $250,000 to $328,000 annually in out-of-home placement costs each of the last five years through the at-risk program.
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