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The purpose of this legislation is to "establish and administer a grant program to reimburse counties for all or part of the costs incurred by counties as a result of monitoring in cases involving family violence defendants and victims who participate in a global positioning monitoring system under Article 17.292 or 17.49, Code of Criminal Procedure."
In cases where a victim of family violence may be at risk due to the alleged assailant being free on bond, counties may place the defendant under global positioning system (GPS) monitoring as a way to protect the safety of the victim from further abuse. These programs enable the defendant to remain free while the case is adjudicated and cost the taxpayers less money than if the defendant was required to be incarcerated pending trial.
Some counties may not have the funds available to participate as broadly in the GPS monitoring program as they would like. This legislation would grant money to counties to be able to increase participation in the program.
This bill best fits within the victims rights genre of legislation. The state clearly has a role to play in administering an effective justice system. Part of making the justice system more effective is to protect victims of crime from further victimization and to respect the due process rights of the accused. In situations where family violence is involved there is generally a higher risk of further violence and repeat offenses than with many other types of crimes. GPS monitoring systems have proven an effective way of striking an appropriate balance between protecting victims and protecting due process rights of the accused. In the long run the taxpayers also benefit by not paying the cost of pre-trial confinement when it is not necessary and by having a justice system that is more efficient and effective.
For these reasons we support HB 1812 on personal responsibility and individual liberty grounds.