Tue, June 25

Supervisors approve home monitoring for DUI offenders

PRESCOTT -- The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan to allow certain DUI offenders to live at home and go to their jobs while wearing a monitoring bracelet.

The idea was advanced by Presiding Justice of the Peace Arthur Markham.

“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.”

Markham envisions using the device for offenders who are sentenced for drinking and driving and some non-DUI cases as well.

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.

“So, for instance, if a person were to be in a home detention program, the 24 days in the program would be a tax savings to the county of $1,680,” he said.

He explained that the company selected to operate the program would know where the individuals wearing the bracelets were supposed to be - at home, the route they take to drive to work, then at work - and when they were supposed to be there.

The proposed Request for Proposals prepared for the meeting has 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.

Not everyone would be eligible for home detention, Markham said. Those who are found to be a risk to themselves or others or have a history of violent behavior would not be allowed to participate.

“As a sentencing judge, I am trying to encourage good behavior,” he said. “If I can encourage somebody to not drink alcohol, and turn their life around, and not have future DUIs, that’s what I’m shooting for.”

Markham noted that, at a recent criminal justice committee meeting with Yavapai County Superior Court Presiding Judge David L. Mackey, and including representatives from the Sheriff’s office, County Attorney’s office, Adult Probation department, Markham himself and the Clerk of Court, “This was presented and there was an almost unanimous approval of it. (Chief Deputy County Attorney) Dennis McGrane expressed some reservations.”

Board Chairman Tom Thurman suggested a six-month or one-year timeframe to test the concept, which Markham agreed would be workable.

“I know other counties do it and they love it,” Thurman said. “So most likely, it will (work).”

The board voted 3-0 in favor of the proposal.