CHICAGO (CBS) — Currently, about 100 people charged with murder in Cook County are not behind bars, but are being monitored electronically at home.
They are limited only by a GPS bracelet around their ankle, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, Dart spoke openly on Monday about some flaws in the… electronic control system – as concerns grow about an increase in violent crime in the city.
After an armed stalemate on the street, Chicago police shot dead Klevontaye White in July. White was wanted after he escaped electronic control at home.
White faced more than a dozen counts of aggravated assault, police said.
At least one of the men who shot and killed 7 year old Jaslyn Adams at a West Side McDonald’s in April last year was out for electronic monitoring, or EM.
“Home monitoring is not a program for people accused of violent crimes,” Dart said.
But Dart, whose department is responsible for overseeing the courts sentenced to electronic control, said the majority of the approximately 2,600 defendants currently assigned to him are involved in violent crimes.
“Seventy-five to 80 percent of my home surveillance people are charged with a violent crime,” Dart said. “I have about 100 people on home security who are charged with murder.”
In an online discussion, Dart said most don’t repeat themselves when they’re on EM. But in 2017, reforms restricted the use of bonds in cash, increasing the number of violent offenders in home monitoring.
The sheriff said the chief judge’s office also has a monitoring program, but the number of defendants enrolled in that program is a mystery to Dart.
“The idea of having two systems is illogical to me,” Dart said. “I literally have no idea how many people are on that program.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has formally asked Chief Judge Tim Evans to lock up the most violent offenders pending trial and not be allowed to leave with a bracelet.
“Cook County’s EM system is fundamentally broken in a way that makes our city unsafe,” lightfoot said:.
The chief justice rejected that idea, saying in part, “The mayor’s proposal appears to require defendants facing certain charges to be presumed guilty until proven innocent.”
Sheriff Dart said the electronic monitoring program in Cook County is the largest in the country. Again, the chief justice and sheriff pointed out that the majority of people under house arrest do not commit additional crimes pending trial.