Cook County Sheriff’s Office Announces Electronic Monitoring Program Transition from Radio Frequency to GPS Bracelets

To address the continued increase of criminal defendants court-ordered to the Sheriff’s Electronic Monitoring (EM) program, currently over 3,300 participants, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has made the administrative decision to formally transition all EM equipment from radio frequency units to GPS bracelets. Since the beginning of July 2020, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has begun that transition and expects it to be completed in the coming months. Every EM participant will have a GPS bracelet by October 2020. The inclusion of GPS technology, which tracks home monitoring compliance through a combination of cell towers and global positioning satellites, will eventually not require CCSO personnel to use or “set up” a control box in the residence of the participant. According to the CCSO, this change in technology does not impact the terms of the program itself or home confinement requirements for EM participants.

This transition to GPS will not change the Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s inability to accept domestic violence offenders. The Sheriff’s Office currently does not have the victim notification technology utilized by the Office of the Chief Judge, and therefore, any persons charged with domestic violence related
charges, who is ordered to the Sheriff’s Office’s EM, will still be referred back to the court for placement on the Chief Judge’s Pretrial Services program.

The new GPS technology does allow for messages to be sent to a participant through the bracelet if the participant is non-compliant with the program. Vibrations, tones and even voice calls can be utilized to communicate with the participant. All participants will receive notice of these features upon
placement on the program, including an explanation of the two-way call functionality on the device.

The Cook County Jail ran out of Electronic Monitoring Bracelets in May 2020 when the monitors were considered successful in helping slow the spread of Coronavirus cases. Jail population was reduced from about 5,400 in late March 2020 to just over 4,000 at the end of the first week in May 2020. Cook County Jail typically experiences a population increase when the weather gets warmer in the summer with the increase in number of arrests.

See also …

As murders soar in Chicago, judges are freeing more violent-crime suspects on electronic monitoring



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