Created on Monday, 29 July 2013 Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS,AP Legal Affairs Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's programs for monitoring offenders with electronic bracelets are divided between a small state effort for about 1,000 inmates and county-by-county systems for an unspecified number of individuals.
Attempts to create a centralized system haven't been discussed, but there might be merit to the idea, said Sara Andrews, director of the state's Adult Parole Authority, a division of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Many of the devices for Ohio offenders convicted of nonviolent crimes such as theft are passive, meaning someone has to fail to check in before an alert is sent. Other systems can send immediate alerts for more serious offenders that trigger search notices for authorities.
In January in Columbus, a 15-year-old boy was charged with a juvenile delinquency count of murder after authorities said he shot and killed another 15-year-old while violating conditions of his electronic monitoring. Two days before the killing, a warrant had been issued for Jesean Callender's arrest for being out of range several times earlier in the month.
Andrews said the state is hopeful it has the proper mechanisms in place to avoid such incidents. Callender's monitoring was overseen by a judge in Franklin County. Only numbers provided by the state were analyzed for this story.
"We're reasonably comfortable, as much as we can be in this kind of field and business, that we have safeguards in place and after-hours notification that those kind of tragedies can be prevented," Andrews said.
The monitored inmates overseen by the state include:
—About 110 offenders who are still finishing their prison sentence but have been released to a residential program to ease their adjustment back into society.
—About 115 offenders on the equivalent of parole, including about 40 sex offenders.
—About 740 offenders on the local level, from municipal to county courts, whose monitoring is funded by the state to help reduce jail incarceration levels.