Greising: What’s Awry With Lightfoot and Evans’ Fight Over Electronic Monitoring? Use of Distorted Data.

The messy use of data by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Chief Judge Evans over electronic monitoring is particularly painful in a dispute where lives are at stake.

Lori Lightfoot, chair of the Chicago Police Board, addresses community leaders and members of the news media about the findings of the Police Accountability Task Force on April 13, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Tim Evans, chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court, are caught up in a dispute about the effectiveness of Evans’ bail reform program and its possible contribution to the surge of violent crime in Chicago.

Lightfoot and Evans disagree about the effectiveness of ankle bracelets — also referred to as “electronic monitoring.” They’re used to track people accused of violent crimes on early release while they await trial.

Evans’ bail-reform program, implemented in 2017, seeks to reduce the jail population and reduce inequity in the criminal justice system by releasing the accused, binding an ankle with a device that tracks their movements and demanding they show up in court.

The mayor says too many of those people wind up committing violent crimes. She claims such shootings and killings were a key factor in the surge of homicides and other violent crime last year. At news conferences and in a letter, she is pressuring Evans to suspend the program.