Tempe is going to let some drunken-driving offenders stay home instead of going to jail in a move city officials say will save thousands of dollars. Approved April 24 by the City Council, the "home detention and electronic monitoring program" for DUI offenders will be implemented as early as June, said Mark Stodola, deputy court manager.
It is modeled after a home detention program implemented in 1998 in Chandler.
"Fundamentally what we’re looking at is another option for the court to use . . . for individuals that are appropriate for electronic monitoring," Stodola said.
In 2002, Tempe paid the Maricopa County Sheriff ’s Office $881,291 in incarceration fees for booking and housing 1,553 inmates, one-third of whom were DUI offenders, according to the city’s proposal for the program.
By having some DUI offenders stay at home with ankle monitors instead of filling beds at the county jail, the city expects to save up to $75,000 per year in incarceration costs.
Offenders would be selected for the program under criteria including: They can’t be a risk to themselves or the community, they can’t have a history of violent behavior, and they must participate in substance abuse treatment.
Participating defendants must wear a tamper-proof electronic device on their ankle that will alert monitors if they try to leave home. Defendants could be allowed to leave home for work.
Unless ruled indigent by the court, defendants will pay costs of the program to the company administering the monitoring system estimated at $14 per day.
"That’s versus $46 that the city would be paying" to the jail, Stodola said.