The 350 work-release inmates who spend nights at the Milwaukee County Community Correctional Center would be placed under electronic surveillance and the center closed under a county budget proposal reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The move would save $2.5 million a year, said administrator Ron Malone. The global positioning system bracelets offenders would wear 24 hours a day would provide better security than the current system, he said.
The GPS idea, unless done right could result in higher costs and community safety problems, said Chief Judge Kitty Brennan. Without sufficient staff available to monitor inmate movements in the community – and police available to quickly respond to rule violations – the change won’t work well, she warned. “It’s like everything else – you don’t get something for nothing,” she said. She favors combining GPS monitoring with an expansive array of programming to help inmates make the transition to freedom. County Executive Scott Walker was sold on the GPS idea when he heard a story about an inmate who had strayed from his outside job. “That story made me realize: What value is there for someone sleeping there at night? I’m more concerned about what they are doing when they are awake,” he said.