The county jail in Helena, Montana currently houses over 100 inmates. To help overcrowding, the county reached out to Montana’s 24/7 Program. Currently, 123 people who would otherwise be housed in detention facilities are helped through the program. Defendants arrested for alcohol related offenses are monitoring with personal breath tests or a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) bracelet. Other defendants are required to wear GPS monitors or are monitored through a house arrest program.
Montana’s 24/7 Sobriety Program began in March 2010. The Montana Legislature passed House Bill 106 in 2011 establishing the program in the department of justice. The program services 55 counties with a 99.7% success rate. Those convicted of driving under the influence for a second or subsequent time can be required to submit to twice daily breath testing or wear the SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring bracelet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The program has saved the county and taxpayers significant amounts of money as the costs are covered by the defendant. Programs like Montana’s have sprouted up across the country. 18 states have implemented a 24/7 Sobriety Program or a similar pilot program to help deter drunk driving recidivism, ease jail overcrowding and save taxpayers money.