Sheriff Seeks to Begin Electronic Monitoring Program
MARION COUNTY- One North Central Florida sheriff is looking to release some inmates back into society and monitor them electronically. For months we've heard Sheriff Chris Blair talk about how his agency is in need of more corrections officers at the jail since the jail is currently overcrowded. He said there's not enough funding in the budget to hire more staff, so he is coming up with other solutions.
Over 1400 inmates live here at the Marion County Jail. Right now the jail is over capacity by nearly 360 inmates and short about 60 correction officers, according to Sheriff Blair. He is asking county commissioners to bring together the local public safety coordinating council, which hasn't met since 2002. Blair would work with the panel in creating new programs.
"I wanted to look at a program to put monitors on those offenders that are actually taken into custody for a domestic violence issue or issued injunctions on domestic violence issues. So at that point we can monitor activity, so that if they come in contact in the area of the victim, we would be notified along with that victim," said Blair.
Blair said this program would also take pressure of his correction officers.
"If they are going to contact the person who was abused and say so and so was in your vicinity then yes i can understand that," said Marion County resident Heather Couch.
But other residents believe those who are charged with violent crimes should stay behind bars.
"I have children and grandchildren and people who commit bodily harms to others, I think is completely wrong. That’s why they are in there," said Marion County resident Lee Davis.
Sheriff Blair said he'd be selective with the type of inmates they let out, but a judge would make the final decision.
"We are releasing people every day right now they have no supervision. They are capable of committing or re offending. So this is a way I am trying to protect other victims from becoming additional victims," said Blair.
He hopes the board convenes the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council soon. Today I reached out to the commissioners, but they have been all in meetings and have yet to get back to me.
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