Warren County judge piloting program using Smartwatches to track some offenders
WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - A Warren County judge is testing first-of-its-kind technology in hopes of reducing the stigma surrounding people who are being electronically monitored.
A smartwatch, called Veriwatch, effectively replaces an ankle monitor and would be used with some non-violent, low-risk offenders.
Veriwatch notifies an offender of court dates and allows supervising officers to track their location with GPS.
Warren County Common Pleas Judge Robert Peeler calls it a game changer.
“You usually hear people say ‘Well, if you don’t get in trouble then you won’t be facing these issues until it’s their son or sister, brother or neighbor and they say, ‘Oh, well that’s just not like him. This is a very good person,’ and that’s what we deal with all the time and it’s all because of how it’s perceived-- the stigma associated with it, so this is just helping us remove one more barrier,” Judge Peeler said.
Like Judge Peeler, electronic monitoring specialist Mike Steele says this will be a game changer and is much needed for Warren County.
“So, our goal here is to ensure that our clientele successfully navigate through the program,” Steele explains.
Steele says that ankle monitoring has caused problems for those who have certain medical conditions.
“Diabetes plays a big part in that sometimes the clients’ legs will swell so we’ll have to send an officer out to their location in order to adjust the device as well as employment issues whether they work in a foundry or if they have to wear high boots, that could impede with the device as well,” Steele explains. “So, with wearing the Veriwatch on the wrist, it’s going to cut down drastically on those issues.”
The Veriwatch will reportedly save taxpayers money.
Judge Peeler says they cost roughly $5 per day compared to the roughly $95 per day it costs for someone to be in jail.
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