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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Prisoner flees -- proving home detention is not perfect solution

Monday, May 24, 2004

John Tabasco, Clay County Community Corrections Home Detention Officer, shows an ankle transmitter and battery pack used to monitor when a perpetrator is or is not at home.

Part one of two

Daniel Kline Jr. was captured on the front lawn of a residence in Turner on May 10. Clay County Sgt. Dep. Mike Heaton, Dep. Brian Pierce and Community Corrections Home Detention Officer John Tabasco were at the scene. Kline had fled from his court-ordered home detention Jan. 2, after serving just 58 days of his 180 day sentence.

Arrested May 1, 2003, the repeat offender entered a plea of guilty on Oct. 20, 2003, to Ct. 4, resisting law enforcement, a Class A Misdemeanor, and Ct. 5, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a Class D Felony.

Kline was sentenced to one year on count 4 and two years for count 5, to run concurrently, all suspended but 30 days and credited with 15 days. Kline was also sentenced to two years formal probation and 180 days of home detention which was to be followed by 16 hours of community service.

Even though Kline had prior convictions he was given home detention rather than time in jail. He was employed and home detention would allow him to continue to work and pay his own way. He could aid the county with community service projects and home detention fees, a daily amount that Kline must pay equal to his job's hourly rate. With home detention, Kline could pay his debt to society without financially burdening the county taxpayers.

According to Clay County Sheriff Rob Carter, it costs the county approximately $50 a day, or over $18,000 annually, to jail an inmate. Home detention is nearly cost free for county taxpayers; it is supervised by the Clay County Community Corrections department which is funded by state money. The only commodity the county provides for Community Corrections is office space in the court house.

Home detention clients are allowed to leave home for work related purposes, but are otherwise restricted to their home. A battery powered transmitter is attached to the client's ankle. It is set to the interior of the home and programed for specific times that the perpetrator is allowed to be away from his home depending on his employment schedule. If the client does not return home at the specified time, an alarm will immediately go off on Tabasco's pager.

The Home Detention Officer says he gives a few minutes leeway to the clients because extenuating circumstances, such as traffic, may delay their return home.

"However, if a person is more than a few minutes late, I'm on the phone notifying people," Tabasco said. "I notify my boss, Executive Director Garth Brown, Chief Probation Officer Steve Bell, and the policing units.

"We don't have arresting powers and we could not do our job without the support of the Sheriff and Police Departments and the town marshals."

Kline had done well on his home detention program initially. At the time he was living with a brother in Turner. Even though he had a job, Kline was trying to get a better paying one and Community Corrections was helping.

"That's part of what we do," Tabasco said. "A lot of our clients go to home detention as an early release from jail. It's a transition program for those people. We help them get acclimated to the community. We also help them get jobs and find homes.

"With Kline, we were helping him get a better paying job. He'd had an interview and the employer wanted to hire him. He was to start his new job Jan 5. On Jan. 2, Kline ran away."

Tomorrow: Kline is captured.

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