Mobile monitoring provides and affordable and effective tool for speciality courts.
In January of 2020, CleanTrac, in conjunction with Bexar County Adult Drug Court and the Therapeutic Justice Foundation, completed a 10-month study of 104 defendants in the specialty court system to determine the impact of a mobile monitoring support technology on the criminal justice specialty court system.
The intent of this study was to assess the use of an affordable, more accessible and effective monitoring and support system for specialty court compliance programs. CleanTrac proposes that mobile monitoring provides increased engagement with defendants and compliance intel for the case manager while serving as a virtual compliance / recovery assistant for the defendant. A key goal of mobile monitoring is to recognize decompensating behavior of a defendant before relapse occurs. Technological innovations for remote monitoring are more relevant than ever given the recent spread of COVID-19.
CleanTrac is a software as a service (SaaS) app and web-based platform designed to help behavioral, chronic, and compliance case managers efficiently and effectively communicate and coordinate care. The CleanTrac app is a patient-facing, HIPAA-compliant tool with customizable real-time capabilities to connect resources, observe behavior, measure outcomes, support proactive intervention and allow development of best practices throughout the defendant compliance process.
Bexar County, which encompasses San Antonio, Texas and surrounding area, is a nationwide progressive criminal justice leader. Bexar provides a model US program for jail diversion for those with mental illness and addiction while delivering support services and community-based treatment to:
- stabilize the individual for successful integration into the community;
- provide community supervision without increasing the public safety risk; and
- significantly reduce recidivism.
Does Mobile Monitoring for Court Compliance Work?
Addiction and its related treatment are complicated. Both the cause and the aftereffect of substance use disorder (SUD) impact mental and emotional wellbeing, interpersonal relationships, job and school performance, financial status, and health. The burden and benefit of working through a DWI or Drug Court compliance program with required drug testing, home visits, appointments, educational classes, and community service hours can leave defendants feeling overwhelmed and confused. The challenge of maintaining abstinence while achieving court compliance is compounded by the detrimental impact of recent alcohol or drug use on the executive function processes of the brain.
The primary goal of this study was to assess the immediate impact of the CleanTrac monitoring technology on defendant compliance adherence and on the length of time it takes defendants to complete each compliance phase. Over a 10-month period, more than 100 defendants were enrolled in the CleanTrac study. Study participants were drawn from Judge Stoldhanske’s Bexar County Adult Drug Court from:
· Phase One: Acute Stabilization (minimum duration of 30 days);
· Phase Two: Clinical Stabilization (minimum duration of 60 days); and
· Phase Three: Pro Social Habitation (minimum duration of 60 days).
Use of CleanTrac mobile monitoring had a significant impact on defendant compliance. Consistent Users (those using CleanTrac over 50% of the time for 6 or more months) took 85 days per phase while Inconsistent Users took 116 days per phase – a difference of 36% or over a month (31 days) per phase and over four months (124 days) total over all four of the possible phase transitions.
Consistent Users receive 78% positive or neutral outcomes with just 22% negative. Inconsistent Users collect exactly twice the sanctions (44%) and 22% less positive or neutral outcomes.
Addiction and Drug Court – By the Numbers
Addiction is a major issue in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2015), 17.3 million Americans either met criteria for alcohol use disorder or had problems related to their alcohol use, with an additional 8.9 million Americans meeting clinical criteria for a substance use disorder involving prescribed or illegal drugs. Over 1.12 million drivers were arrested in 2014 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Approximately 1.56 million individuals were arrested for drug abuse violations and another 415 thousand were arrested for drunkenness over the same time period. Arrest data: Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the United States: 2014” https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/table-29
DWI (driving while intoxicated), DUI (driving under the influence) and Drug Courts are separate court dockets dedicated to changing the behavior of alcohol/drug dependent offenders convicted of driving while impaired. The goal of these courts is to reduce recidivism by attacking the underlying cause of DUI: alcohol and drug abuse. There are currently more than 2,800 drug courts and 600 DUI Courts across the country with more being created. These courts provide an option that involves strict court supervision of the defendant’s conduct while the defendant participates in an appropriate form of behavioral health treatment.
The Bexar County Adult Drug Court (judge, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, law enforcement, alcohol/drug treatment professionals) uses a team-oriented approach to systematically change participant behavior. Compliance with treatment and other court-mandated requirements is verified by drug testing, close community supervision and interaction with the judge in non-adversarial court review hearings. The team’s goal is to encourage prosocial, sober behaviors that will help prevent recidivism. DUI courts use close monitoring together with random testing, appropriate recovery treatment, and positive reinforcement. Currently, Bexar Drug Court is using Zoom for court dockets given social distancing requirements.
According to AAA DUI Justice Link, specialty courts have significant evidence demonstrating that “close monitoring” and intensive treatment with individualized sanctions for DUI offenders reduce recidivism. This evidence is supported by the American Judges Association, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Sheriff’s Association, and the National Transportation Safety Board.
However, close monitoring is expensive and time consuming. With the current push towards jail diversion, greater numbers of defendants are being monitored via community supervision efforts yielding large caseloads for pretrial and specialty court case managers. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 4.5 million adults were under community supervision (19% parole and 81% probation) at year end 2016. Approximately 1 in 55 adults in the United States are under community supervision. Of those on probation, 13% (around 585 thousand) are DWI/DUI offenses.
Current intelligent technology is available to leverage community supervision efforts. Mobile monitoring provides data gathering for court compliance plans on a real-time basis via smart phones. This soft monitoring utilizes defendant status updates with geolocation and on-demand photos or surveys to verify compliance.
According to Andrew Krieger, MBA, LCSW, LCDC and CEO of Contemporary Medicine and co-founder of CleanTrac, “The future of mobile monitoring radically improves addiction treatment by unlocking current technology, machine learning, and other big data capabilities to engage patients in their own recovery. We’re excited to lead this effort in Texas, bringing a proven, affordable, and convenient technology to support jail diversion.”
The CleanTrac app and enterprise system was used for this study. The CleanTrac system allows case managers to seamlessly manage defendants through a variety of recovery and compliance programs. CleanTrac leverages the experience and protocols of the courts while allowing case manager workload prioritization for participants most at-risk. Employing CleanTrac provides:
- A mobile technology to gather real-time intel (key behavioral, compliance, and diagnostic information)
- The ability to provide a customized compliance plan and text reminders for defendants on an easy to use mobile app
- Connection of the providers, patients, and supporters in a HIPAA secure environment
- Analytics data which leads to proactive care coordination interventions and relapse prevention
- Real time compliance plan data to allow proactive intervention
- Gamification with points allocated for positive behaviors
- Access to a rich, extensive collection of data for analysis for use in determining treatment effectiveness and cost reduction.
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