FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC4 News) – Davis County Jail is arguably the only metropolitan jail that has not been affected by COVID-19 because of the measures deputies have taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Out of those measures, a new Davis County Sheriff’s Office program was developed to aid inmates in being released with an ankle monitor.
19-year-old Dylan Erickson is one of those inmates who looking for a fresh start at life.
“I’ve been in and out of jail. I’ve been kind of screwing up,” he says. ” I just couldn’t keep up with the AP&P. I wasn’t checking in, so they brought me in on an AP&P violation.”
Erickson did something right to catch the eye of Davis County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ron Rowe and his team.
Friday, Erickson will be one of the first inmates released with a new ankle monitoring program in Davis County.
“This is giving them an opportunity to make a living and provide for their families,” says Sgt. Rowe.
The program has room for 25 individuals. Each ankle monitor updates every 30 seconds and can track an individual within 17 feet by GPS.
“If they are on the freeway, it tells me how fast they are going. It just monitors them 24-7. I know everything they are doing, when they are doing it, and where they are doing it at,” Sgt. Rowe adds.
If needed the DCSO team can send messages and warnings to those wearing the monitors.
Sgt. Rowe’s team was able to perfect the program because of strict COVID-19 measures at the jail.
“We are the only jail that I know of that has no documented COVID cases amongst inmates,” he tells ABC4 News Investigator Jason Nguyen.
Each inmate is quarantined for 14-days before entering the general population.
“If they come in by themselves, they are housed by themselves. They come in with somebody else, they had contact with them, they can go into a cell together,” says the sergeant. “Eventually everyone bought in on it and it is keeping our numbers down.”
The ankle monitoring program is supported by area judges, prosecutors, and public defenders, all of who saw a common problem with inmates finishing their time.
“When they go back out there with nothing, they go back to what they know, which is stealing, drugs, whatever to make a living,” says Sgt. Rowe. ” With COVID, it took every option off the table for the judges. It was either let them go or incarcerate them with nothing to look forward to.”
This program hopes to prevent that by making sure inmates like Erickson have jobs and a path to education before their release.
“The families that we call and say, ‘do you mind if your son comes home and does his program? They are thanking us [for] giving them the opportunity to do this,” says Sgt. Rowe.
“I’m excited to get out, get out and go home, and sleep in my own bed,” Erickson says, “If I learned anything, it is just focus on the small things you have.”