Judges in Billings, Montana have begun to require defendants to wear GPS Monitoring bracelets and SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring bracelets as a condition of their release from jail prior to going to trial. The Yellowstone County Detention Facility provides the monitoring for a fee from $2 to $15 a day depending on the type of monitoring. As the county continues to focus on jail alternatives such as pretrial release, those charged with possession, shoplifting, writing bad checks and other non-violent crimes are given choices to keep out of jail. The drug and alcohol monitoring helps to keep offenders accountable when they are released from custody. Overall it reduces the chances of recidivism and ensures their sobriety. For many it is a change of lifestyle that can address underlying problems with addiction.
The SCRAM bracelet and GPS monitoring device are worn on the ankle. While they typically require a deposit, the cost per day is minimal at around $10 to $15. It can save taxpayers thousands of dollars as the defendant is responsible, in most cases, for the cost out-of-pocket. Over 1600 jurisdictions use the SCRAM bracelet to monitor alcohol-related offenders. The success rate of those participating in the program is overwhelming. Courts, probation departments and detention facilities across the country are turning to these jail alternatives to monitor defendants pre- and post-trial.