Key Highlight: Pretrial EM Fees Skyrocket in St. Louis

Case Studies



Ariana, who was on a pretrial electronic monitor in St. Louis, describes how the monitor disrupted her life, and how The Bail Project, a national organization dedicated to ending cash bail, raised money to pay her bond and supported her when she was released.


Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Program (EMASS) has been contracted to provide electronic monitoring for people on pretrial release in St. Louis County since 2000. Authorities originally required EMASS to file periodic reports on the EM program, but that requirement ended in 2012. As of 2019, EMASS was charging $300 a month for GPS monitors and $450 a month for alcohol monitoring. In January 2020 the county planned to implement a pilot contract with e-Hawk Solutions, which monitors people through a cell phone app. The app not only captures a user’s location, it can also gather personal data which is compiled into an algorithm that calculates a risk level. They claim the algorithm allows them to put together a “hit list” of those most likely to commit an offense while under supervision.


Citing a number of Constitutional violations and the manner in which poor St. Louis residents are forced to pay exorbitant EM fees and are threatened with arrest if they cannot pay, a number of Organizations including the ArchCity Defenders sent a letter to the Court, exposing these practices and making a number of recommendations to the Circuit.

EM and the Law

In September of 2019, the Missouri House set aside $5 million to implement a statewide electronic monitoring program. The funding would provide support to counties wanting to use EM.

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Data collected post-Covid-19