Howard County Officials Approve Ankle Bracelet Program

by Victor Lopez
NewWest 9

HOWARD COUNTY --It's an idea whose time has come.

When asked about the ankle bracelet program, County Judge Mark Barr said, "We've been looking at these ankle bracelets off and on since before I came into office. about a year or a little over a year now."

Now, it's the first of it's kind in Howard County.

It's also an attempt to lower the expense of housing female inmates out of the county.

An issue that has posed a problem for county officials for a while now.

With respect to other counties refusing to take in their inmates, Judge Barr responded, "That kind of ties our hands.  They refuse to take them, so what do we do with them?"

Howard County has from five to fifteen females in custody at any one time.

A cost that would drop drastically by using the ankle monitors.

Barr tells NewsWest 9, "Normally they charge us $45 a day for inmate housing.  It varies in scale, but it would run us about $10 a day on average to use the ankle monitors.  So you can see we're saving $35."

The bracelets would be used on all inmates, but the target group is the females.

Barr added, "Anybody will do it.  I'm just pointing out that aspect of it, because that's where I can see that we can really use it to our advantage.  But we can use them on males, females, whatever we deem necessary."

A total of ten bracelets have already been ordered.   Judge Barr says they'll start using them as soon as they come in, which will be in about two weeks.