electronic monitoring | St. Louis Public Radio

electronic monitoring

St. Louis County is interested in joining a statewide eletronic monitoring program for people awaiting trial once Missouri gets it up and running.
FIle photo | Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri is planning a statewide electronic monitoring program for people awaiting trial in local jails — with the hope of saving money.

The state put $5 million toward electronic monitoring in its current budget, but the program is still several months away from being launched. 

Missouri is required to help counties and cities cover the costs of holding people in jail and transporting them to state prisons, but the state hasn’t been able to keep up with its payments — leaving local governments in a lurch. The state ended its last budget cycle in July owing cities and counties a total of $32.5 million.

Tyrone Henley is one of many people recently ordered to wear an electronic ankle monitor while awaiting trial in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Before he got another chance at freedom, Tyrone Henley spent six weeks in jail, unable to put up $25,000 cash bail.

But last week, Henley and dozens of others in St. Louis jails received new bail hearings after a federal judge ruled the city’s bail-setting practices unconstitutional.

At his hearing, a judge decided to release Henley after he signed a promise to return to court. But there was one more condition: In order to stay out of jail, the 55-year-old has to wear an electronic ankle monitor.

And although Henley is glad to be out of the city’s Medium Security Institution, commonly known as the Workhouse, he said he still feels confined.

Every month, Jocelyn Garner reports to Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services for a bond supervision check-in that costs her $30. Garner is awaiting trial on charges filed nearly a year ago.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Once a month, Jocelyn Garner steps off a bus and walks into a dimly lit waiting room in the Dutchtown neighborhood of St. Louis. Her name is called, and an office worker jots down her personal information and asks if she’s staying out of trouble.

The visits take less than five minutes and cost her $30. Her payments go to Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services, a private company based in St. Charles that tracks and monitors people awaiting trial in St. Louis.

Garner is one of many in St. Louis court-ordered to report to the for-profit company, commonly known as EMASS, after posting bail. Under the law, she’s innocent — but as she waits for her day in court, she pays monthly fees to maintain her freedom. Missing a payment could lead to a warrant for her arrest.