24/7 sobriety contract starts July 1 in Cascade County
The County Commission approved an agreement with Compliance Monitoring Systems, LLC to provide 24/7 sobriety services.
On June 14, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the contract that begins July 1 for a year, with automatic one-year renewals unless written termination is provided at least 120 days prior to expiration of the existing term.
The program will operate in the county 365 days per year without limitation and will provide twice daily breath testing, SCRAM, PharmChem drug patch, urinalysis testing and report participation violations, according to the county.
During the meeting, Commissioner Jane Weber said the new testing site downtown at Central Avenue and 2nd Street is on a bus route so participants will be able to get there even if they’ve lost their drivers license.
The sobriety checks were previously conducted at the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office on Gore Hill, which meant people were walking up and down the interstate twice a day.
It was “far from an elegant solution,” said Commissioner Joe Briggs.
Under the contract, participants pay 24/7 fees directly to the provider, removing that revenue from the county, but also the associated expenses.
The breath test is $2 per day; SCRAM monitoring bracelets are $9 to $9.50 daily; a monitoring patch is $565 per patch plus a one time $50 administrative fee.
Weber said she hopes the judges will put people on 24/7 monitoring to keep people in their jobs and out of jail.
Undersheriff Cory Reeves said “jail overcrowding is still an issue, so this is just a piece of the puzzle.”
Sheriff Jesse Slaughter told The Electric that jail crowding is a constant problem.
He’s put together a jail working group that includes judges, the county attorney’s office and the Great Falls Police Department that’s meeting at least once a month in an effort to find solutions to the overcrowding and underlying causes.
Slaughter said they’re working to get the county pre-trial program established in the hopes that it will relieve some of the pressure on the jail. CCSO is also participating in the treatment court programs again, he said.
Slaughter said he’s also working with the county’s IT department to develop a publicly available online jail roster that would include booking photos and an automated phone system that would allow the public to call in and get information on people in jail, to include their charges and bond.
“If we want to make a decision as a community to expand pre-trial or the jail, we need information,” Slaughter said.
CCSO will also be launching their citizen’s academy in September, he said.
Under the 24/7 contract, CMS is required to report all participant violations within 72 hours to the appropriate Cascade County or City of Great Falls attorney’s office.
The parties, including CCSO agree to work together to take participant violators into custody when necessary and, under the contract, CMS agrees to testify in court regarding violations.
The county released a request for proposals in April and received one bid.
According to the RFP, proposals were sought “to provide the twice daily testing for the presence of alcohol or drugs or when twice daily testing is impractical, transdermal alcohol monitoring or testing by other methods approved by the Montana Department of Justice.”
The county required that the provider enroll participants using the Montana Department of Justice forms, use IntoxiTract software system for tracking participants and provide/use portable breath tests from Intoxilyzer and all other necessary supplies to conduct the work.