Billings, Montana has an open marketplace for pretrial electronic monitoring with exorbitant fees in many instances. Three companies Freidel LLC ($10 a day plus $500 set up fee); Community Solutions ($15 a day) and Alternatives, Inc. ($9 a day) are combining fees from electronic monitoring with other court fees and fines to ensure a steady revenue stream into their accounts. In the past, a municipality usually had only one contracted EM provider. But in recent years, the open market has allowed “clients” to go shopping for monitors from a list of providers. This type of competition opens the door to under the table deals with judges or probation officers to be rewarded for driving clients to a particular company.
HB449 passed into law in 2021 mandated the use of electronic monitoring for certain categories of sex and domestic violence cases for people released from custody during pretrial.