Carbon County officials are working to expand the home electronic monitoring program.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted 2-0 to approve a letter of reward from the Pennsylvania Commission and Crime and Delinquency for the county's Restrictive Intermediate Punishment (RIP) Program. Under the letter, the county will receive $11,286 in match-free funding for 2013-2014. Commissioner Wayne Nothstein was absent from the meeting.

Commissioner William O'Gurek explained that the money will be used to purchase five new home electronic monitoring units and accessories for the RIP program. They will be used to expand the number of offenders that are allowed to be in the home electronic monitoring program.

O'Gurek said that this will also help with the overcrowding at the county prison in recent years.

"What might look like $11,286 in grant monies could save the county money going forward," he said, noting that it currently costs approximately $60 to $70 a day to house an inmate while it only costs $1.92 a day to monitor a person in the home electronic program. "And as a privilege to not be in jail and on home electronic monitoring, a person pays a cost of $15 per day to cover costs associated with the program and other costs involved."

Currently, the program has 15 units; 10 of which are in use with people in the program.

O'Gurek commended the committee that is working on the expansion. The committee includes officials from the adult and juvenile probation offices; the public defenders office, the district attorney's office, district magistrates and prison warden.

Robert Crampsie, county controller, added that the committee discussed issues that the county is facing at the prison.

He noted that the program has been successful and the committee felt it should be expanded.

They will now work with the courts to see if the courts would be willing to the expansion to help solve the overcrowding problem, while not adding any additional expense that other programs come with.

In addition to the expansion of the program, Crampsie said that people approved for home electronic monitoring would also receive treatment and counseling as a requirement to stay in the program.

Currently, non-violent offenders, ones who violated probation, or have been charged with DUI are eligible for the program.