YPD Uses GPS to track People on House Arrest

YPD Uses GPS to track People on House Arrest »Play Video
YAKIMA - Empty beds can mean big bucks for Yakima. It costs a lot to house an inmate in the city jail, and even more to transport them to the county jail. But KIMA discovered fewer offenders are sitting behind bars this year thanks in part to the success of its home monitoring program. And that program is expected to see even more success now that YPD has a new, high tech toy.

The old home monitoring device was just that, old. Old equipment. Old technology. This system cost the city $5 a day. But that's more than offset when the city charges the inmate triple that for the privilege of using it. Now, YPD just upgraded the program. It's more technologically advanced.

Captain Jeff Schneider said, " We've got a program now where we can track them using GPS."

And, It's saving the city money. The program costs the city less, the offender a little more.

Under the old home monitoring system, there was really no way for cops to track which route the offender took, say from home to work. Meaning that he could stop anywhere along the way. Now, with this new GPS system, they can track that offender's every move. If there are, say five bars along that route, police will now know if they open the door to even one.

And soon they'll also know if an offender has been drinking if staying alcohol free is condition of probation. This month YPD will test out its first alcohol monitoring device.

Schneider said, " It has a video monitor, so you can see who's actually blowing in it."

And they'll be required to do it often, randomly throughout the day. There's really no added cost for the city. Any fee will be passed on to the offender.

" Typically we're talking 30 to 40 dollars a day for both. So it's really cheap for someone who doesn't want to spend their day in jail," said Schneider.

Getting out of jail has never been free for the inmate, but the more who choose to wear the bracelet, the more the city makes and the less you the tax-payer has to foot.

Last year the home detention program brought in $118,000. It also saved the city $50 a day, plus medical expenses, for every person who didn't have to sit in jail.