Vermont Strippers

Can Electronic Monitoring Reduce Vermont’s Prison Population?

GPS monitorTammie LaClair should be in prison. In September, she was arrested and charged with her fourth DUI. Because she was unwilling to post the $2,500 bail, the 47-year-old South Newfane resident was ushered to one of Vermont’s scarce inmate beds.

But rather than live in prison, at the cost of $180 taxpayers’ dollars a day, LaClair spends time with family, visits a therapist and is trying to rebuild a life that she says is strained by addiction. After only a week behind bars, and with her felony case pending, LaClair went home. But she is not exactly free.

Around LaClair’s ankle is a GPS-equipped monitor that transmits her exact location to law enforcement. She is the first participant in a technology-based pilot program for pretrial detainees that could potentially alleviate Vermont’s overcrowded and increasingly expensive prison system.

LaClair is under orders to stay inside Windham County’s borders — and inside her home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Should she stray from her court-approved locations, or get close to a forbidden one, the monitor vibrates and transmits a warning to law-enforcement officials, who can reach her anywhere in the county within 30 minutes.

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