'When you do something like this there's always a risk'

'When you do something like this there's always a risk' »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima County is moving closer to a plan that would let low-risk inmates out of jail. The law and justice system is under pressure to close a multi-million dollar shortfall; this latest plan would create a new system for who gets booked into the jail and who would be tracked electronically at home.

Yakima County's walking a tight rope to balance saving money with public safety.

KIMA asked, "Is there a risk that some of these people could fall through the cracks?"

"Oh, when you do something like this, there's always a risk," said Yakima County Court Administrator Harold Delia. "And, that's why we would want to make sure the pretrial unit has good, strong people in it."

A plan from the county court system would hire a four-member team to help decide who gets out of jail in favor of electronic monitoring.

The initial estimated cost is $250,000 to Yakima County that would come out of reserves.

KIMA went down to the county jail to see the electronic bracelets in action.

Action News asked, "Does someone monitor these all the time?"

"The system in the compute monitors it, 24/7, 365," said the Department of Corrections.

According to the Department of Corrections, It would cost $650 a day to putting an ankle bracelet on 50 inmates.

You couldn't even pay to hold 10 inmates one night for the same money.

"We're still wanting to ensure ourselves that we're not putting our community at risk," said Yakima County Commissioner Mike Leita.

All of this is a push to cut costs at the jail and throughout the criminal justice system.

KIMA learned there's already been an effort to move cases through the system faster with more plea bargains and home monitoring.

That's helped dropped the jail population by more than 50 inmates to now less than 400.

The Law and Justice committee assigned subcommittees Thursday to work on finalizing proposals that include new standards to determine who is booked into the jail. Those ideas will go to Yakima county commissioners for approval.