Monday, April 27, 2015
Augusta – At a public hearing in front of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held this afternoon, a bill sponsored by House Republican Leader, Rep. Ken Fredette of Newport, was introduced that would provide funding to continue a program that helps keep victims of domestic violence safe from their attackers. The program allows judges to order certain domestic violent offenders to where electronic monitoring bracelets while out on bail so their whereabouts will be known at all times.
LD 1002 would provide $500,000 to keep the program going. Currently, there is still some seed money keeping the program afloat but that funding will eventually run out.
“This program provides safety particularly for women and children who have been the victims of domestic abuse. It allows them to feel safe,” said Rep. Fredette. “What we really need to do now is to provide some permanent funding in the budget for it.”
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.
A work session will be held in the coming weeks where the details of the bill will be ironed out. The hope the members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will provide some level of permanent funding for this program that we already know to be a success.