TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County is eliminating the home-monitoring fees charged to pre-trial and sentenced individuals.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said the elimination went into effect January 1, 2021. He said

“This is an issue of simple fairness. Individuals on home detention, most of whom are individuals not convicted and awaiting adjudication of non-violent crime charges, should not have to face additional financial burdens,” Olszewski said. “Expensive home monitoring fees create unnecessary impediments, and the elimination of home monitoring fees will better allow these residents to support themselves and their families.”

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The Home Detention Program allows eligible inmates to stay in their homes supervised instead of incarceration. However, court closures and trial delays due to the pandemic have placed many people awaiting trial on home monitoring longer than usual- meaning their fees go on for much longer.

Baltimore County had 99 people in the program as of December 29, 2020. The fee structure includes a one-time lab fee for drug-testing at $25, a one-time monitoring fee of $9 and a weekly program free of $60.

The cost to the County to operate the Home Detention Program is approximately $538,000 per year. If the individuals currently on home detention had been housed at the detention center instead, the cost for the year would exceed $3 million, the County said in a release Monday.

They said the fee elimination does not impact people on private home detention and not monitored by the Department of Corrections.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

CBS Baltimore Staff