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Berkeley County to begin home confinement program

May 20, 2002

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - Berkeley County could have a home confinement program as early as June 1.

County commissioners have signed a contract with a Colorado-based Behavioral Interventions to provide a program that officials hope will decrease money spent on incarceration.

"This is perhaps the best suggestion we have to cut our jail bill costs," said Commission President Howard Strauss.

In the fiscal year 2002-2003 budget, the county allotted $2 million for jail costs, a $500,000 increase over last year's budget.

The county has to pay about $43 per prisoner, per night at the Eastern Regional Jail.

As of July 1, the per diem cost will increase to $45.

Individuals on the home confinement program will pay $7.50 a day or an amount equal to one hour of the wage of their current salary.

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The cost to lease a transmitter and receiver monitoring unit ranges from $3.69 to $4.78 a day.

Company representatives are to meet with the Sheriff's Department and judicial officers soon.

About 10 current jail prisoners would be eligible for the program, Strauss said. Only individuals involved in misdemeanor offenses and nonviolent crimes are eligible.

Commissioner John Wright said if Berkeley County were an alcohol-free county, there wouldn't be a need for home confinement because the jail bills wouldn't be as high.

"Home confinement is a savings to what we're paying now, but if we were a dry county I don't think we'd pay hardly anything at all in jail," Wright said.

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