House Republican Office
December 18, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information:
Rep. Fredette Thrilled Electronic Monitoring Pilot Program Moving Forward
A pilot program aimed at keeping Maine’s most vulnerable domestic violence victims safe is rapidly coming to fruition. Earlier this year, the Maine State Board of Corrections sought proposals from counties interested in beginning electronic monitoring pilot programs in their areas. The Board of Corrections has formally awarded three pilot projects in Somerset, Kennebec and Sagadahoc Counties that will implement the use of electronic monitoring for high risk domestic violence offenders. The funding was approved by Governor Paul LePage this morning.
$4,000 will go to both Kennebec County and Sagadahoc Counties to begin the project. Somerset County will receive an initial award of $2,000. The rest of the funds will be distributed upon request and based on the need in each of the counties.
The Board of Corrections expects the pilot projects will run for up to six months, beginning January 1 and running through June 30, 2015.
The electronic monitoring bracelets will alert local dispatch centers in those counties if someone who has been deemed a high risk offender enters a “safe zone” causing the victim to be at an increased risk of an attack. These safe zones are typically a certain distance from a location where a victim would spend a lot of their time. A victim’s home, workplace or a child’s school are examples of places likely to be determined to be a safe zone. Authorities will be dispatched immediately and if the offender is found to have violated the conditions of his or her release, the justice system will act swiftly to make sure they’re taken off the streets.
House Republican Leader Ken Fredette sponsored the original bill creating the pilot programs and funding for the project. $18,000 came from the Amy Lake Walk/Run in Dexter and that was matched by $18,000 from Governor LePage using money from his contingency fund making a total of $36,000 available. Rep. Fredette has also sponsored a bill scheduled to be considered this session that he hopes will add an additional $500,000 in funding for this important initiative.
“I’m thrilled that this pilot project is moving forward,” said Fredette. “The days of domestic violence victims living in fear of their attackers needs to come to an end now. The electronic monitoring is a huge step toward achieving that goal.”
The project was started thanks in large part to the family of Amy Bagley and her children Coty and Monica who were brutally murdered by Amy’s estranged husband in Dexter back in 2011. Authorities believe if this electronic monitoring protocol had been in place then, a terrible tragedy could have been avoided.
In October, thanks in part to a series of grants and fundraisers hosted by the friends and family of Amy, Coty and Monica, the project was successfully tested in Somerset County and has been shown to cost roughly $7 per day. That is a fraction of what it costs Maine taxpayers to house one of these inmates in a county jail.