Orange County home confinement program suspended

Program under fire after Bessman Okafor left home confinement, killed a man

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orange County Corrections Department home confinement program has been suspended on Thursday during a meeting to discuss the controversial program.

Orange County leaders and Judge Belvin Perry want to know how closely corrections officials were monitoring people or if changes need to be made to the home confinement program to prevent future defendants from sneaking away.

Local 6 first reported last week that Orange County's Professional Standards and Jail Internal Affairs were both looking into the jail after Bessman Okafor left home confinement while he was waiting to go on trial, and in the meantime, killed Alex Zaldivar, who was scheduled to testify against him in a home invasion case.

Detectives said Okafor's ankle bracelet alerted the corrections officers 109 times in 10 weeks that he may have violated his curfew, but corrections officers never notified Okafor's judge, so he was never ordered back to jail.

Officials said the alerts were either caused by common technical glitches, or because Okafor had violated his curfew.

With the suspension of the program, a potentially dangerous criminal defendant wanting to bond out of jail while awaiting trial, will likely remain in jail.

227 people are on the home confinement program and will remain on confinement, but will be monitored more closely than ever, Perry said.

No other defendants will be admitted into the program until several internal and independent investigations are complete. Perry said after the investigation is complete, it's possible the home confinement program will change or not come back at all.

The program was originally started to reduce jail overcrowding. Judges consider certain criteria when deciding who is eligible for home confinement.

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