Greene County Tapping Second Budget Area for Electronic Monitoring

If you look at the Greene County budget, it appears that the county has already spent all funds for electronic monitoring of those awaiting trial, but County Administrator Chris Coulter told OI that there is actually money budgeted to cover the cost in the overall budget.

Greene County is looking at an increase in the number of people who will be monitored by GPS or alcohol monitors because of changes made by the Missouri Supreme Court regarding bond issues. The county had specifically budgeted $75,500 for electronic monitoring and that amount has already been billed to the county. However, Coulter says much more has been budgeted to deal with issues like pre-trial monitoring.

“There is a budget item in General Revenue 2 in the Commission’s budget to pay for alternatives to incarceration,” Coulter told OI after Tuesday’s County Commission meeting. “There is $200,000 budgeted to cover situations such as paying for GPS monitoring.”

Coulter said because of the second budget item, there is no need to make a budget change specifically because the line item in the pre-trial budget has reached its allotted amount. The original $75,500 budget item was from General Revenue 1 and in the pre-trial budget.

While the new bond rules are having a direct impact on judges considering alternatives to incarceration prior to trial because someone accused of a crime cannot afford cash bond, County Commission Bob Dixon has also expressed his support for alternatives in an attempt to reduce jail population and “speed up” the judicial process.

“Those are designated funds for the improvement of the justice system,” Dixon said. “There is also $5 million new in the state budget earmarked for alternative monitoring programs and we’ve been in talks since the spring with some vendors. That has not been rolled out at the state yet, but we’re exploring those options. IN addition to that, we’re close to proposals to commission on the public defender’s office. We’re really looking to improve the flow of the criminal justice system.”

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