Prisoners' system studied
By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission is eyeing a home monitoring system for prisoners that could save the county more than $1 million a year in incarceration costs.
Sheriff Randy Smith on May 10 introduced to the commission representatives from a Colorado company that makes high-tech home monitoring equipment. Also at the presentation in Martinsburg were officials from Cabell County, W.Va., who use the equipment.
Cabell County Home Incarceration Director Tom Bevins told the commissioners that Cabell County saved $1.6 million last year because of the lower costs of having prisoners wear the ankle devices at home. Prisoners also pay to be in the home-monitoring program. Those payments raised more than $200,000 for Cabell County last year.
"This is the best proposition I've had in a long time to save money," said Commissioner Robert Burkhart.
The county will spend $2 million for the year starting July 1 to house its prisoners at the Eastern Regional Jail - up from $1.6 million this year. The rise in cost is due to increased incarceration costs passed on by the state, which will charge the county more than $40 a day to house its prisoners.