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Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Says There Are Serious Flaws In System With Murder Suspects Being Out On Electronic Monitoring

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Right now, about 100 people charged with murder in Cook County are not behind bars, but rather on home electronic monitoring.

They are confined only by a GPS bracelet around their ankle, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, Dart spoke openly Monday about some flaws in the electronic monitoring system – as concerns grow over an increase in violent crime in the city.

After an armed standoff in the street, Chicago Police shot and killed Klevontaye White in July. White was wanted after he escaped home electronic monitoring.

White faced more than a dozen counts of aggravated sexual assault, according to police.

At least one of the men who shot and killed 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams at a West Side McDonald's in April of last year was out on electronic monitoring, or EM.

"Home monitoring is not a program for people charged with violent offenses," Dart said.

But Dart, whose department is responsible keeping tabs on those court ordered to electronic monitoring, said the majority of 2,600 or so defendants currently assigned to him are facing violent crimes.

"Seventy-five to 80 percent of my people on home monitoring are charged with a violent offense," Dart said. "I have about 100 people on home monitoring who are charged with murder."

In an online discussion, Dart said most don't re-offend while out on EM. But in 2017, reforms limited the use of cash bonds - increasing the number of violent offenders on home monitoring.

The sheriff said the Chief Judge's office also runs a monitoring program, but the number of defendants enrolled in that program is a mystery to Dart.

"The notion of having two systems to me is illogical," Dart said. "I have literally no idea how many people are in that program."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has formally asked Chief Judge Tim Evans for the most violent offenders to be locked up while awaiting trial and not allowed out with a bracelet.

"The cook county EM system is fundamentally broken in a way that is making our city unsafe," Lightfoot said.

The chief judge rejecting that idea, saying in part, "The mayor's proposal seems to require that defendants facing certain allegations be considered guilty until proven innocent."

Sheriff Dart said the electronic monitoring program in Cook County is the largest in the country. Again, the chief judge and the sheriff pointed out the majority of people who are on home detention do not commit additional crimes while awaiting trial.

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