• 9 Investigates the high cost to fix Orange Co. home confinement program


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Fixing Orange County's home confinement program likely will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.

    9 Investigates first exposed some violent offenders who were able to roam the streets when they were supposed to be at home.

    County commissioners will vote Tuesday on whether to pay a consulting firm $100,000 to find out what's wrong with the community corrections program. That's two-thirds of the jail chief's salary.

    The father of Alex Zaldivar, 19, has already said he plans to sue Orange County over his son's slaying.

    Prosecutors said the mind behind Zaldivar's killing is Bessman Okafor, who wanted to prevent Zaldivar from testifying against him for attacking Zaldivar and his roommates months earlier during a brutal home invasion.

    Okafor was violating home confinement at the time of the Zaldivar's death. It was the 109th alert that home confinement workers got that Okafor might be in violation of his home confinement. No one responded to those alerts.

    "You got criminals and parasites running around town and they don't even know where they're at right now," said Rafael Zaldivar, father of Alex.

    Rafael Zaldivar has been very critical of jail management, all the way up to Chief Michael Tidwell.

    He told Channel 9's Kathi Belich that he supports the county's plan to pay the California-based Matrix Consulting Group $100,000 to fix what's broken. But he said he believes that money should come out of Tidwell's $151,000 salary and not from taxpayers.

    A Channel 9 investigation into 54 violent suspects among 227 who recently were on home confinement shows that their monitoring systems alerted a total of 10,700 possible violations. That is an average of more than 200 per individual over several months. None of them were removed from the home confinement program.

    Currently, only about a fifth of the 227 suspects who were on home confinement when the county opened its investigation are still on it.

    Officials said only five of the 185 removed were taken off because of violations.

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