Dec 19, 2018
The Denver Department of Public Safety eliminated fees charged to individuals who are required to submit to electronic monitoring as a condition of their pretrial release. The decision aligns with the department’s vision for the Denver Opportunity Index, which includes addressing financial instability, behavioral health and people left behind by Denver’s recent prosperity.
“We take the well-being of our community members seriously and are committed to mitigating negative impacts associated with their involvement in the criminal justice system,” said Executive Director Troy Riggs. “These fees are burdensome to those struggling to make ends meet and the family members who rely on them.”
Jurisdictions around the country are reforming their bail systems to prevent individuals from being detained solely because they cannot afford the financial bail that is set. Costs add up quickly for defendants who are unable to contribute to the household or care for family members when detained. Denver is at the forefront of this reform, having implemented a risk-based assessment in 2012 that bases bail and detention on an individual’s risk and moves away from a reliance on financial conditions of release.
In continuing with the philosophical alignment of bail reform, Denver is now among a handful of cities who are waiving pretrial fees related to electronic monitoring. Electronic monitoring fees exacerbate financial issues and does not align with Public Safety’s focus on addressing social harms.
“This is a positive change,” said Greg Mauro, Director of Denver Public Safety’s Community Corrections Division. “Pretrial staff can spend their time having conversations that are focused on client success and public safety rather than on collection of administrative fees.”
Electronic monitoring cost individuals up to $11 per day and under Denver Revised Municipal Code Section 14-67, Denver Public Safety is able to charge these fees back to the individual being monitored. An average pretrial period is approximately 90 days, resulting in almost $1,000 in fees being charged back to clients. These fees are charged whether or not they are actually convicted of a crime and can create a significant hardship for those who already struggling. On average, there are about 500 individuals ordered to electronic monitoring in Denver.