Yvette Speaks Out About Having a Loved One on Electronic Monitoring
Yvette’s son, Tim, has been on electronic monitoring at her apartment in South Shore for almost an entire year. CCBF worked with Yvette to pay Tim’s $6,500 bond (a $65,000 D-Bond) and secure his release on electronic monitoring (“EM”) in September 2017. Before his release, Tim had been incarcerated for four months in Cook County Jail because neither he nor his family could afford to pay his money bond.
Tim is a 30 year old father of four children ages 1 to 10. Before he was arrested, he had just completed a construction apprenticeship program. Yvette is retired and has four children and eleven grandchildren. Tim was released on EM from Cook County Jail and has to live in Yvette’s apartment. Being on EM requires that someone stay within a certain foot radius of a box installed in their home. Since Tim has no permission to leave the house except to go to court, he cannot work and Yvette has had to help him and his family financially while his case is pending.
“When someone is incarcerated, it takes a toll on the whole family—especially if they have children,” says Yvette. While she’s happy that Tim is home, she wishes he was allowed to wait for his trial without any imposed conditions. “Tim, he gets stir crazy from time to time, especially because he can only leave the house to go to his court. He hasn’t been able to work for almost a year now and he gets frustrated that he has to depend on others to provide for him.”
Yvette lives on a fixed income, so the extra financial burden is not easy. EM has shifted the cost of housing and food from the County to her, which has stretched her budget thin. Although they have enough for the necessities, the family doesn’t have money for any extra costs. For example, Yvette hasn’t been able to visit family outside of Illinois in months, which is a big sacrifice for her.
Tim himself has also missed a lot of important family events, including their largest gathering, which is hosted annually on the first Saturday in August. Every year, more than 100 family members get together to celebrate at a local park in Chicago. Yvette has tried hosting several gatherings at her place so that Tim can be a part of them, but it’s not the same.
Having her son on EM in her home has also increased the level of surveillance and stress that Yvette herself is under. Sheriff’s deputies have shown up and come inside her apartment several times over the last 11 months, including once at 3:00AM, claiming they had to make sure that Tim had not left the house. Technical difficulties with the EM equipment are also a constant worry. They never know when the EM box is going to beep, wrongly signaling that Tim has left the apartment, or malfunction (like it did during a power outage), which could lead to Tim being put back in Cook County Jail. Whenever the EM box beeps, Tim is supposed to report it immediately by phone. The problem is that no one ever answers the phone when Tim calls about the beeping. Once, Tim tried calling in to make sure his movement was approved for court just like he does every time, but no one answered. This created a real dilemma: Should he risk re-arrest and jail by going to court or risk violating his bond by missing court? He decided to risk going to court.
This experience has been difficult and also eye-opening for Yvette. “It is so sad for so many people who have no access to money, who plead guilty just to get out because the situation is so unbearable inside. This happened to my other son one time, even though they had no evidence against him. That is not justice.”