The Cook County Sheriff’s Electronic Monitoring Program (EM) is a pre-trial monitoring program created to ease overcrowding in the Cook County Department of Corrections. Since its inception in 1989, almost 300,000 have been placed on EM. The monitoring program is used as a community-based alternative incarceration concept that allows non-violent, pre-trial, and short-time sentenced inmates to remain in the community instead of being incarcerated in jail. The average daily population of this program is well over 2000.

Since 15 December 2008, placements onto Electronic Monitoring have been made in Central Bond Court or the trial courts. Those who have been recently arrested and who wish to be placed on Electronic Monitoring should immediately notify their attorneys and/or court personnel.

Those already incarcerated in the Department of Corrections may also ask an attorney to bring the same request before the appropriate court.

How It Works
The detainee is fitted with an ankle bracelet that is the transmitter. The detainee wears the ankle bracelet 24 hours a day. The transmitter emits a constant radio signal to the Home Monitoring Receiving Unit (HMRU) – a receiver with a built in cellphone. Over the telephone line, the HMRU informs the Monitoring Center when the detainee leaves and enters the home, as well as if he/she were to tamper with the equipment. Tampering includes but is not limited to moving the HMRU from its designated location in the residence, unplugging the HMRU, breaking into the HMRU, and/or treating/using the equipment in such a way as to activate other tamper detectors.

What EM Participants Can Do While On The Program
Participants are often granted permission to work, attend school, and/or participate in job skill programs.  With permission, EM Participants can leave their homes to obtain Public Aid, attend job interviews, or meet with lawyers or probation officers.


Court Orders

Any attorney wishing to place a person on EM must have a court order to place a Cook County Defendant on the program. The EM residence to be monitored must be within Cook County to be placed on the program.

Movement While on EM

One-Time Movement
A one-time movement is permission granted to an EM Participant, allowing him/her to leave the monitored residence for a specific reason. Movement may approved without a court order for one-time movement. The movement must be necessary to ensure the participant’s success while on the program.

Acceptable reasons for one-time movement include:

  • Court appearances
  • Medical appointments
  • Dental appointments
  • Attorney consultations
  • Probation appointments
  • Parole appointments
  • Job interviews
  • AA/NA Meetings
  • Religious Services
  • Voting
  • Public Aid appointments
  • Unemployment appointments
  • T.A.S.C. appointments
  • Drug/Alcohol testing
  • Counseling
  • Property pick up
  • Bonding off EM
  • Funerals (immediate family only)
  • Obtaining a state ID

*Any other one-time movement that is acceptable to the Sheriff and increases the defendants’ chances of success on the program may also be considered.

Work/School Movement
Movement for work may be approved for employment at a legitimate place of business licensed to operate in the state of Illinois and at one single location.
Movement for school may be approved for a student at a Chicago or suburban public school, college, trade school, or other specialized school at one single location and which is licensed to operate in the state of Illinois.

Such movement will not require a court order as long as the movement requested does not exceed 40 hours per week, is at one single location, has regularly assigned days per week, and does not rotate or fluctuate. Anything outside of the above parameters will require a court order stating the specifics of the movement.

A signed letter from the employer on company letterhead stating the specific hours, days, address of employment, duties performed, a supervisor name, and contact number must be provided. Again, movement will not be approved without this information on the letterhead of the movement destination.

The below information is required for movement and must be faxed or emailed to the Sheriff’s Electronic Monitoring Unit at least seventy-two (72) hours before the requested movement date and time.

  • EM participant’s name, jail number and contact phone number.
  • Name, address, and telephone number of the desired movement destination.
  • Name and title of a contact person/supervisor at the desired destination.
  • The exact time of the visit/appointment/work/school.
  • Mode of transportation to be utilized.