11/11/2012 9:56:00 PM County's plan for monitoring bracelets hits snag
PRESCOTT - A plan to allow some offenders sentenced on DUI charges to avoid custody and wear a monitoring bracelet has hit a snag: None of the vendors interested are willing to pay for indigent defendants' equipment as the county requested.
The idea was advanced by Presiding Justice of the Peace Arthur Markham at a September Board of Supervisors meeting.
"The bracelet has a GPS device on it that says where you are on a 24-hour basis," he said. "It also has an alcohol sensor" that measures alcohol intake through perspiration "like when you blow into an Intoxilyzer."
By law, 24 days of a 30-day DUI sentence can be done as home detention. The cost to the county, if a prisoner is kept in jail, is $150 for the first day, then $70 for each day after, Markham said, explaining that a person serving home detention would save Yavapai County more than $1,600 for a 24-day sentence.
The county's request for proposals (RFPs) had those who can afford it paying their own expense, anticipated to be about $12-$15 per day, and indigent prisoners' equipment and monitoring supplied at no charge by the company selected to operate the program.
Four vendors submitted bids, but they did not include provisions for indigent prisoners.
At Monday's meeting, Supervisor Carol Springer said, "Judge Markham's philosophy is there would be no cost to the county, and that was the whole premise," but, she said, "that's not going to work as proposed."
Springer added that the board should assume that the monitoring system will include a cost to the county, and "that having people confined in their home is much less than having them confined in the county jail."
County attorney Dave Hunt wasn't willing to give up. "There a number of programs out there, and there are programs that have actually been implemented using that (no-cost) model."
Chairman Tom Thurman suggested that more research be done, new RFPs be issued, and the decision be left to the new board to be seated in January.