Nearly half of the suspects Marion County, In., officials put on home detention as they await trial end up escaping or otherwise violating the rules, says the Indianapolis Star. From June 2004 to July 2005, the county saw 314 of 721 people cut off ankle monitoring bracelets or break other rules, nearly twice as many as the year before. About half were caught and sent to jail; the others were returned to the program, released. or are still at large. “They’re running amok over here,” said Brian Barton of Community Corrections, which oversees home detention, work-release, and other alternatives to jail. “When nearly 50 percent of violators are thumbing their nose at the program, there’s a problem we’ve got to address.”
The county has 143 people on home detention awaiting trial, up from 45 in 2001. The county continues to shunt more suspects into the program to keep the inmate population in the jail down. Jail crowding in Marion County has been a long-standing problem that drew the scrutiny of a federal judge. The number of fugitives surged last year in Marion County, Barton said, because few people who escape home detention are prosecuted for that crime. Many of the fugitives — who already face charges such as rape or robbery — receive no serious penalty for their escape. David Wyser, the county’s chief deputy prosecutor, blamed Barton and the courts for failing to use their ability to send fugitives to the county jail or state prison.