Huber inmates serve time at home
Jail relies on monitoring technology
By Robert Cloud
Huber Law inmates in Waupaca County no longer spend their nights in jail.
Under Wisconsin’s Huber Law, some inmates are sentenced to a work-release program.
The program allows them to work, attend school or counseling, or spend time with their children.
Huber inmates normally spend their nights in jail.
In Waupaca County, however, all Huber inmates are now on GPS monitoring bracelets that track their movements.
They go to the jail once a week to pay fees and to review their weekly schedule, according to Capt. Adam Wogsland, who oversees the county jail.
“If they don’t have a job, they remain here,” Wogsland said. “If they have a job, they can exercise Huber privileges.”
Because many Huber inmates have committed alcohol-related offenses, they are required to maintain absolute sobriety.
So, they also visit the jail twice a week for random alcohol testing.
AB Kiosk installed
The Automated Breathalyzer Kiosk is a piece of equipment that simplifies the process of alcohol screening.
Located inside the entrance to the jail, it does not require jail staff to supervise or operate it.
The kiosk randomly generates emails that tell inmates when to go in for testing within two to three hours.
It verifies the inmate’s identity with biometric fingerprint scanning.
It also takes video of inmates while they blow into a straw inserted into the kiosk.
Inmates also pay their fees for the screening at the kiosk.
If the kiosk detects the presence of alcohol, jail staff are immediately notified.
“If they test positive or if they violate where they are allowed to go, we will ask the judge to suspend part or all of their Huber privileges,” Wogsland said.
In the past, Waupaca County defendants who were released on bond for drunken driving charges were placed on SoberLink to ensure they maintained absolute sobriety.
Defendants would blow into the SoberLink device and it would email the test results to the jail.
Wogsland said SoberLink was labor intensive and expensive.
SoberLink cost about $5 per day per person.
Defendants and inmates had to pay $10 fees per day. Not all of them paid their SoberLink fees, and they were hard to collect.
The kiosk costs $2.50 per test, and users pay their fees when they are screened.
“At 400-450 tests per month at $2.50 a test, it (the kiosk) pays for itself,” Wogsland said.
During the week of Aug. 15-22, a total of 113 tests were scheduled. One person failed and 12 missed taking the test.
About 30 people are using the kiosk for alcohol screening, Wogsland said.
“It’s a tool for the courts to use to try to hold people accountable,” Wogsland said, noting defendants who violate the conditions of their bond will be arrested for bail jumping.
Waupaca County District Attorney Veronica Isherwood said she opposed using the kiosk and GPS monitoring instead of normal Huber jail time.
“The jail made that decision without any input from myself or the judges,” Isherwood said. “I completely disagree with the decision.”
She said she believes jail sentences should be served in jail.
“The deterrence of a potential jail sentence is diluted when the sentence is served at home,” Isherwood said.