Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has returned 61 inmates to jail who had been released with electronic monitoring bracelets, under tougher standards and stricter enforcement of rules governing the privilege, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Clarke made the change to put behind bars offenders he considers too dangerous for electronic monitoring. Crimes that are off limits for electronic monitoring include robbery, sexual assault, numerous drug offenses, and third offense or more of drunken driving.
Two things prompted the sheriff’s tougher stance. Clarke said he ordered a review in December after seeing offenders he considered public safety risks getting into the jail alternative program. He also discovered a court ruling that said sheriffs generally have the power to determine which sentenced offenders can get out of jail on electronic monitoring. That bolstered his view that judges’ recommendations on the subject were just that – recommendations. Clarke said his office had been following judges’ orders on electronic monitoring until it determined they couldn’t dictate whether an offender was released with a bracelet monitor. Judges used electronic monitoring as “nothing more than a jail leniency tool,” Clarke said. Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers said there was no dispute over the sheriff’s authority to decide whether a sentenced offender gets jail or electronic monitoring.