SCRAM Systems’ GPS monitoring with victim notification can alert domestic violence victims when their abuser is nearby
June 29, 2021, DENVER, Colo. — On July 1, a new law goes into effect aimed to protect victims of domestic violence in Montana. Gov. Greg Gianforte signed House Bill 449 in early May, resulting in a revision of the state’s domestic violence (DV) laws that make it easier for judges to order GPS monitoring for those suspected of certain DV and stalking charges.
“This bill will allow for victims of partner or family member of assaults, including strangulation, stalking, or any violations of Felony orders of protection, to have the security knowing that the offender shall be required to be on GPS ankle monitoring, alcohol monitoring, or both,” said Senator Chris Friedel, Montana State Senate District 26. “I heard this bill on the Senate Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor and was proud to stand up for the victims of domestic violence in my community.”
The Montana Department of Justice reports from 2000 to 2018, 200 Montanans died at the hands of an intimate partner. And, in 2019 law enforcement responded to more than 4,000 cases of domestic violence across the state, meaning that an act of DV was reported every 2.5 hours on average.
Montana isn’t alone in this issue; this is a nationwide problem. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic appears to have amplified incidents of domestic violence further across the nation. According to the National Institutes of Health, data from U.S. police departments provide some early insight into the effect COVID-19 had on DV in some regions. For example, in Portland, Oregon, public schools closed March 16, 2020, followed by stay-at-home orders on March 23. Following these events, the Portland Police Bureau recorded a 22% increase in arrests related to DV compared to prior weeks.
The Honorable Gregory Pinski, former Cascade County District Court Judge, spent nearly eight years on the bench presiding over cases that he says would have benefitted from this kind of legislation.
“Domestic violence victims often face a lifetime of fear, anxiety, and trauma,” said Pinski. “As a judge, I relied on monitoring technologies to protect domestic violence victims and assure a defendant’s compliance with no contact orders, location restrictions, and alcohol prohibitions. Not only do these technologies have a proven track record of protecting victims and the community, but they also save taxpayer dollars.”
SCRAM Systems, an industry leader in alcohol and location monitoring solutions for the community corrections market, looks forward to playing a role in the implementation of this new law. The company provides SCRAM GPS® location monitoring, and can combine that solution with the SCRAM Ally® victim notification mobile app.
SCRAM GPS provides state-of-the-art location monitoring and is an effective alternative to incarceration for community corrections, helping officers more effectively supervise clients while enhancing community safety. When combined with SCRAM Ally, victims and supervising authorities are notified when a GPS client is in proximity to the victim’s own smartphone. This can help provide victims of domestic violence with added sense of security and gives officers additional insight into the location and actions of their clients.
This combination of technology has already helped at least one victim of domestic violence in the state avoid a potential interaction with the individual against whom she had an order of protection. By alerting her that the GPS client was in her vicinity, the victim was able to call 9-1-1 and receive immediate support from local law enforcement.
“In this situation, the technology worked exactly how it was designed,” said Glenn Tubb, COO of SCRAM Systems. “Nothing is more rewarding than knowing that we were able to help this victim stay safe.”