The May 17 war zone around Twin Peaks cost lives, liberties and livelihoods, but local companies monitoring GPS ankle bracelets and writing bail bonds have enjoyed a virtual biker bonanza in recent months.
While McLennan County officials have been trying to sort out how to deal with the multiple ripple effects from the shootout and mass arrests of 177 bikers, Waco’s Recovery Healthcare Corp. and local bail bond companies have chalked up banner profits.
As of Friday, of the 177 arrested, three posted $1 million bonds and 163 were released from jail after their attorneys and prosecutors negotiated reduced bonds ranging from $10,000 to $300,000.
Of those freed bikers, 123 were ordered to wear GPS ankle bracelets, installed and monitored by Recovery Healthcare, as a condition of their releases.
Ronnie Marroquin, Waco office manager for Recovery Healthcare, declined to discuss proprietary information about the company. But, he said those ordered to wear the ankle bracelets must pay $355, which includes a $100 installation fee, and then $255 a month for as long as they wear it.
Besides the 123 bikers, there are also 75 others wearing the monitors now. Normally, there are about 65 defendants a month hooked up to the devices, he said.
“Let’s just say we have been busy,” Marroquin said. “Our company is not crunching the numbers. We are just doing what we do as ordered by the courts. We truly have not discussed the financial ends of this at all. Zero.”
The company has 22 locations nationwide and it had to turn to its Dallas office to get more supplies after the bikers won their freedom following the Sunday afternoon shootout in which nine were killed, 20 were wounded and 17 motorcycles, eight pickup trucks and two SUVs were seized for civil forfeiture actions.
“I think it is important to remember that every day someone is on a GPS bracelet, we are saving McLennan County in round figures about $60 a day,” Marroquin said. “That’s money the taxpayers aren’t having to pay for the cost of someone being in jail. That is a tremendous savings to the McLennan County taxpayers.”
Marroquin said he has been surprised by the success rate of the bikers wearing ankle monitors. So far, they have been in 100 percent compliance, he said. That compares with an average 88 percent compliance rate with the company’s other clients.
The monitor tells if a client misses curfew or strays into a forbidden area. If a violation occurs, Marroquin’s staff is notified and they call the sheriff’s office, he said.
Seth A. Smith, 28, of Waco, says it’s a burden for him to wear the ankle monitor, both financially and for comfort and convenience. But, he said, it certainly beats the three weeks he spent in jail away from his wife of 18 months, Sabrina.
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