Lee County ready to approve electronic bracelets

TUPELO – Lee County could start using ankle bracelets to monitor non-violent criminal offenders as early as this month.
The Board of Supervisors on Monday said it’s ready to approve a contract with Tupelo-based ADAPTS Electronic Monitoring and asked that one be presented Aug. 17.
As part of the contract, the company will provide between 30 and 40 bracelets to Sheriff Jim Johnson, and it will monitor people chosen for the program.
“We can start on the day you say ‘Let’s go,'” said Van Hopkins, CEO of ADAPTS.
Johnson and Hopkins spoke briefly to the supervisors at the Lee County Justice Center. They said the bracelets will cost $11 per person per day, and offenders will pay for the devices themselves.
The county needs only to provide start-up funds for the program until offenders begin reimbursements.
“If we can get our money situation arranged, I’m ready to do it,” said District 2 Supervisor Bobby Smith.
Two types of bracelets are available: One tracks a person’s movements; the other detects alcohol through the person’s sweat. Law enforcement and court officials could check the monitoring records online.
This is the second time since March that Johnson has brought the ankle-bracelet proposal before the board. It was pitched as a way to ease overcrowding in the Tupelo-Lee County Adult Jail.
Daily inmate tallies at the 202-bed facility typically range between 200 and 250. The county launched plans last year to add another 202-bed pod onto the jail. That plan is still in the works.
“This is not going to be a solution to expanding the jail,” Johnson said. “But it will alleviate some of the overcrowding.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal