New SC bill would require domestic abusers to wear GPS monitors

A new bill in the South Carolina House would allow a judge to order domestic violence suspects...
A new bill in the South Carolina House would allow a judge to order domestic violence suspects to wear an ankle monitor while awaiting trial.(Live 5/File)
Updated: Jan. 31, 2020 at 8:38 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Domestic violence suspects could soon be monitored while awaiting trial if a proposed bill becomes law.

Bill H3708 would allow a judge to order someone accused of domestic violence to wear a GPS tracking monitor. The monitor would also notify victims if the alleged attacker was within a certain distance, set by a judge.

"They would receive a text message from a monitor that the X number of feet which has designated by the judge has been violated,"said Rep. William Bailey (R-Horry County), one of the bill's sponsors. "It would say you need to seek safety or call your local police department."

Officials estimate the cost for this service would be around $240 a month. Bailey says the cost is considerably lower than what some courts charge for bonds.

The proposal suggests the suspects would have to pay for it and judges could issue the monitors instead of a cash bond.

"This could be a very vital tool to protect victims from the point of someone being arrested," Bailey said.

Tosha Connors is the CEO for My Sister's House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. She says the bill raises a lot of questions for her.

"The amount of false positives that typically come from these kinds of devices is worrisome," Connors said. "What is the likeliness that police are actually responding, because of all the false positives?"

She also worries that this bill creates a "false sense of security" for domestic abuse survivors.

The bill is currently in a judiciary sub-committee and lawmakers are working on changes.

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