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Personal Narratives: James Brooks

James Brooks takes care of his mother who suffered a catastrophic stroke, leaving her paralyzed and in need of 24-hour care. Mr. Brooks cannot afford to put his mother in a nursing home or hire in-home caregivers full time.  He receives minimal financial assistance from the government. On April 7, 2017, Mr. Brooks was arrested for driving under the influence. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail with half time credits, which the judge ordered be served with a GPS monitor, SCRAM alcohol monitoring device, and alcohol testing provided by Leaders in Community Alternatives, a private probation company. He was required to pay $13 a day or $400 a month in fees to LCA.

He began his 58-day sentence with LCA on December 17, 2017. He wore two shackles on one ankle — for GPS and alcohol tracking. He was deemed out of area when he washed his dishes at his kitchen sink because he was out of range of the modem. To prove he was home, he would have to download the information on the monitor which took approximately 10 minutes. Mr. Brooks rented his house, moved in with his mother, and sold items on Craig’s list in order to make his LCA payments. He never received a breakdown of his charges or understood how his daily rate was created. Mr. Brooks was never informed of his right to a reduced rate and a hearing before a judge to determine his ability to pay. Mr. Brooks paid LCA $1,629 for 58 days to avoid jail and to continue to be able to care for his mother.

Related: Edwards v. Leaders in Community Alternatives

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