County looks to hi-tech home incarceration
PRESTONSBURG, Jun 20, 2012 (The Floyd County Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The county is hoping new home incarceration technology may help alleviate some of its current financial strain.
On Friday, the magistrates voted to allow Judge-Executive R.D. "Doc" Marshall to negotiate and enter the county into a contract with Corrisoft, a Lexington-based company, and initiate that company's AIR (Alternative to Incarceration by Rehabilitation) program.
The program is a new home incarceration system that offers more than just an ankle bracelet.
"A lot of companies are out there that do GPS tracking and monitoring, but one thing that is unique about Corrisoft, we have a whole other side that we add to that," said Chuck Geveden, a regional sales manager with Corrisoft.
The AIR program offers a 24/7 support center to communicate with participants on a daily basis to provide resources to help them. The program offers aids to social service needs including helping participants to find housing, work and access to social programs, substance abuse classes, and educational opportunities.
The monitoring device, which can be carried as a phone or an ankle bracelet, or both, also provides the standard GPS (global positioning system) tracking that is expected with home incarceration. The phone also has a tool kit, that offers prompts and reminders for upcoming court dates, fines, and conditions of probation or parole. "We give them all the resources they need to rehabilitate back into he community," Geveden said.
The phone will be complete with a voice biometrics system which will take a voice print of the participant. This will keep participants from leaving the device, or having someone else try to pass off as that person. The participant will be contacted regularly and randomly to checked to make sure that he is in possession of his phone. If authorities believe the person to be of higher risk, they can require the ankle bracelet to go with the phone.
Participants also will receive regular calls from the support centers to remind them of court dates and fines due.
"The call center will call and say, 'Look, you got to be in court tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock, you got a fine due,' and they say 'Ah, I don't have any money,' or whatever', and our support staff says, 'Well, you need to be there anyway. The Judge will appreciate the good faith effort of you showing up.'" Geveden said.
All conversations between support staff and participants are recorded and can be used in legal proceedings.
Geveden says that about an hour before scheduled court dates, the participants will also get a message alerting them of where they are supposed to be and when they are supposed to be there.
Geveden says that the device will also warn both the participant and the support center, if the participant gets close to somewhere he is not supposed to be. Geveden gave the example that if the person had stolen from Wal-Mart, and wasn't allowed to be in Wal-Mart, that a proximity alert would come in to the call center and appear on the subject's phone if he got near to the business.
One feature that Geveden says it hopes to have in the near future is a device to help alert victims of domestic violence or people who have issued EPOs and DVOs that the subject is near. Geveden says a device will be given to the the victim, and that should the participant come with in a certain proximity to the the victim's device, an alert will be sent to both the victim, the participant and the support center, which will immediately notify the police.
"If you have a domestic situation, that will be fully Amanda Law compliant, if they get close to each other ..." Geveden said. "All these alerts are going to go off, and dispatch will notify authorities."
County Attorney Keith Bartley said that in a domestic situation, the added notification may give a victim time to hide and give police time to respond.
Geveden said dispatch will also call a person and notify him that he is in danger of making incidental contact with a person, such as in a grocery store, and that he should leave the area and come back later. According to Geveden, that service should be available with the AIR program in the fall.
Bartley said he arranged the presentation because the county has a big gap in services currently provided through the court system, services provided both to the victims of domestic violence and social services to participants.
The county could generate some revenue from the use of the product, though during the presentation, some of the magistrates seemed hesitant to sign on to the program, and then get hit by extra fees down the road. Bartley, who arranged the presentation, told magistrates that if they had any misgivings, they should not approve it.
"If you don't want to do it, if you have any hesitancy at all, then don't do it, it's OK," said Bartley. "Because I'm going to do it through the county attorney's office, and it won't make any difference. I'll make the money.
"I was just going to give you all the opportunity first, because I don't need it."
Bartley said he recognizes that the county is facing one of its toughest times financially, and that his office didn't need to generate any revenues, so he wanted to give the county an opportunity to use the program to both save some money, by reducing the amount of prisoners in jail, and increase revenues, by charging for the incarceration service.
Geveden says that the social service aspect of the AIR system is what makes it unique. He says the program is committed to helping rehabilitate people and get them the tools and support they need to re-enter the community.
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