By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Judicial officials in Philadelphia are asking City Council for more than $1 million more to expand the use of ankle monitors with GPS.

Courts have used ankle monitors for years, but they’re usually linked via wireless technology to a device in the home attached to a land phone line.

Newer models that use GPS technology to keep track of the location of the wearer, inside the home or out, are being tested in Philadelphia Family Court.

Now, court officials want to expand GPS monitoring to adults who can’t make bail for nonviolent crimes.

At a budget hearing today, administrative judge Kevin Dougherty (below) said the time has come.

“We’re looking to save not only detention costs and transportations costs, but it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

 

(Judge Kevin Dougherty.  Image from City of Phila. TV)

(Judge Kevin Dougherty. Image from City of Phila. TV)

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So, the First Judicial District is asking City Council to appropriate an extra $1.2 million above what the mayor has proposed, to expand ankle monitoring.

This would pay for 175 new GPS ankle monitors, as well as 175 that use the older, landline-linked technology.

Dougherty told councilmembers this would save nearly $600,000 a year in prison and court costs, so the investment would pay for itself in two years.

“The return on your investment is not only fiscally responsible, it’s socially conscionable.  It must be done,” he said.

Dougherty pointed out that the old-style bracelets that use landlines are increasingly obsolete, particularly since many families no longer have landlines at all.