DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. – County Executive Marc Molinaro recently spent time with county authorities who monitor those criminals who have been sentenced to house arrest instead of jail time, according to a statement from his office.
Molinaro’s efforts, taken during National Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week (July 16-23), allowed the county executive to learn more about the work of the county’s Office of Probation and Community Corrections’ Electronic Monitoring Warrant Unit, according to a statement from the county.
Widely viewed as a viable alternative to incarceration, electronic monitoring allows law enforcement to supervise those who have been sentenced to house arrest in their homes or work through the use of a transmitter attached to the ankle, according to the county, which added that those under care of the program are monitored 24 hours each day.
Anyone who leaves home or work without authorization triggers an alert that is received by probation officers, who are equipped to then respond, according to the county.
As part of his ride-along, Molinaro observed several routine electronic monitoring checkups with people in the local community. According to the county, the Electronic Monitoring and Warrant Unit has supervised about 149 people in 2016.
“The work done by our Probation Officers goes well beyond their daily supervision of adult and juvenile offenders,” said Molinaro, who called the program a valuable alternative to jail. “During our electronic monitoring supervision visits, I observed the officers’ interactions with the probationers assigned to this program and was impressed by the sincere and genuine approach officers took to assist individuals to complete the program, ultimately to help lead to a more successful and productive way of life.”
In the course of their work, officers in the unit often administer Breathalyzer tests as ordered by the court. Anyone accused of failing such tests against a court order can be charged with misdemeanor or felony drug charges, driving while intoxicated, assault or various property crimes, according to the county.
County officials hailed the program and the work of its officers, adding that electronic monitoring saves Dutchess substantial money by lowering the days served by defendants. It’s impact on preventing youth crime has also been substantial, according to the county.
“The Office of Probation & Community Corrections’ staff work tirelessly year round to deliver effective services and programming to enhance our criminal justice system, reduce recidivism, and protect our community,” said Director of the Office of Probation and Community Corrections Mary Ellen Still in a statement. “The innovative work of our agency’s staff to combat crime and delinquency has become a model throughout New York State and the country.”
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