Can private probation companies be both monitor and counselor for their clients?

Can private probation companies be both monitor and counselor for their clients?

Dan Beeck knows how expensive it is to get a DUI.

As the owner of one of Colorado's biggest private probation companies, Rocky Mountain Offender Management Systems, he contracts with six of the state's 22 judicial districts to monitor mostly first-time DUI offenders. In addition to fines, each one is slapped with a $50 monthly fee to cover the cost of probation and must also spend $100 to $140 per month on mandatory alcohol-education classes and therapy.

Repeat offenders and those who blow more than twice the legal limit can be on the hook for more than a year, spending thousands of dollars in the process.

Karen Moreau helped organize fellow treatment providers against RMOMS's plan to offer alcohol counseling.
Anthony Camera
Karen Moreau helped organize fellow treatment providers against RMOMS's plan to offer alcohol counseling.
Senator Suzanne Williams and Representative Brian DelGrosso sponsored a bill to prohibit private probation companies from treating offenders under their supervision.
Senator Suzanne Williams and Representative Brian DelGrosso sponsored a bill to prohibit private probation companies from treating offenders under their supervision.

As a result, some convicted drunk drivers don't complete their court-ordered treatment. Several years ago, as the recession began to gnaw at people's finances, Beeck says, "My staff came to me and said, 'Gosh, if there was a way that treatment was free, people would attend and people would complete successfully, and some of the problems we're having in society around these issues would begin to go away.'

"Well, obviously that can't happen," he continues. "It can't be free. But I did start thinking in the back of my mind, 'I wonder if that's really true?' If it was free for people who couldn't afford it, would they really attend?"

So Beeck, a sturdy man with a deep voice and a no-nonsense attitude, set up an experimental program in Jefferson and Larimer counties in which he paid addiction counselors to provide free alcohol classes to up to sixty indigent offenders at a time. It worked; their completion rates, he says, were higher than those of the general population.

"That was an eye-opener," Beeck says. Armed with that information, he approached some of the private counselors who provide alcohol treatment to drunk drivers and asked if they'd be willing to reduce their fees. "The first few we called, we were told, 'Absolutely not,'" he says. "And that was frustrating."

So in November 2008, he applied for a state license to open his own alcohol-treatment business, setting up shop in three locations where he was already providing private probation. And while he couldn't afford to treat everyone for free, he set cut-rate prices: $50 per month, with no intake fee and no penalty fee for missing a class.

"We've made treatment accessible to everyone," Beeck says.

Not surprisingly, some of the treatment providers who make their livings serving DUI offenders balked at Beeck's low prices and, more important, at what they saw as a serious conflict of interest when someone profits from serving as both the enforcer of the law and as a confidant to whom the offender is expected to divulge his secrets.

"As clinicians, we are trained to avoid conflict of interest or any appearance of it," says Kathleen DeHerrera, the owner of Creative Recovery Counseling in Aurora. "This just seems like such a blatant conflict of interest, or at least setting the stage for that to occur, that we were all taken aback and appalled by it."

At first the state agreed. After a probationary period, the Colorado Division of Behavioral Health, which licenses substance-abuse treatment providers, denied Beeck's treatment license, citing the exact conflict of interest the treatment providers feared.

But as soon as a group of those providers pooled their money, hired a lobbyist and took their fight to the State Capitol to make sure a similar situation could never happen again, the division changed its mind.

******

When someone gets his first DUI, he usually ends up pleading guilty in exchange for no jail time and a reduced sentence. However, "reduced" can often mean the suspension of a driver's license as well as mandatory counseling, alcohol classes and urine tests.

All are monitored by probation officers or, more likely, private probation case managers. Private probation companies have existed in Colorado since 1996, when lawmakers decided to remedy the problem of too many cases and not enough probation officers by allowing private companies to handle the overflow.

Now judicial districts can contract with these providers to supervise low-risk offenders while state probation officers take on the middle- and high-risk ones. If you get a DUI in one of the seventeen districts with contracts, chances are good you'll be monitored by a private company like Rocky Mountain Offender Management Systems (RMOMS). And if you fail to complete the requirements of your probation, RMOMS can report you to state probation, which can ask the court to toughen your sentence.

Karen Moreau first heard that RMOMS was looking to provide DUI treatment — and for significantly lower prices — in April 2009. A psychologist who opened her practice, Addiction Treatment Outpatient Services, in 1992, it's her job to keep state probation officers and private case managers updated about whether their clients are attending classes and making progress. The news surprised her: She'd worked with RMOMS for years but had no inkling the company was interested in providing treatment. (Beeck says other treatment providers knew he'd been treating indigent offenders for free.) In fact, RMOMS clients sometimes came to Moreau to complete their court-ordered counseling.

That program usually consists of a twelve-week alcohol-education class plus anywhere from 42 to 86 hours of group therapy. The length and intensity of treatment is determined by a state probation officer who evaluates the offender after sentencing. Protocol dictates that offenders are given a list of treatment providers to choose from.

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34 comments
ittytrujillo
ittytrujillo

Whats does it mean if you call the ua hotline but it tells you that your id had expired

bustanut303
bustanut303

RMOMS has sold this contract to Intervention in the 1st judicial district for Colorado. If you think it was bad before you have seen nothing yet. Giving UAs at the halfway house at ICCS is a nightmare. Someone should look into this before someone gets raped just trying to comply with their sentence.

8080149
8080149

These folks at RMOMS and 1st Alliance work for chump change because they either aren't qualified or have no experience at much of anything or they can't make it anywhere else.

There is only one person at RMOMS that makes any money and that's Dan Beeck. The rest are just along for the ride. The turn over there is horrible it has to be over 80% a year. Most of these folks spend their time looking for real work and real pay while "doing their job"

The real purpose of RMOMS and 1st Alliance is to collect money and issue certificates and nothing else. This is not about treatment. This is about money. Dan Beeck is not afraid to spend money to make money.

zackmurtaw
zackmurtaw

Excellent article. As an actual survivor of court ordered, privatized, "r-momed" Colorado probation, I can tell you that their are excellent opportunities for real rehab and legal success in the Denver area. I cannot speak for other parts of the state. Broadway Counseling Services treat their clients with respect and though you will likely end up reporting to RMOMS if you are convicted of AN ALCOHOL RELATED DRIVING OFFENSE, companies such as BCS can guide you along, offer affordable classes, and give a personal touch which is needed to succeed even given the harsh punishments one may be facing. Good luck

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 

*** Disgraced former sheriff  Sullivan violated probation with booze ***

 

POSTED:   08/28/2012 

 

Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan has violated terms of his probation, according to the Arapahoe County Probation Office.

 

 Sullivan, who pleaded guilty in April to possession of methamphetamines and soliciting a prostitute, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 24 months probation.

 

In a "special report" filed July 9, Sullivan's probation officer Hallie Miller, writes that Sullivan was required to wear a SCRAM alcohol-monitoring device under the terms of his probation.

 

"However, the defendant's continued violations indicate the defendant chooses to not abide by Court orders," the probation filing said.

 

The report went on to say that, "the above information leads the probation department to be concerned about the defendant in the community."

 

The probation office didn't ask that Sullivan's probation be revoked in the filings that were recently been made public.

 

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21420232/disgraced-former-sheriff-violated-probation-booze-officials-say

 

Jail this Perverted Maggot !!

.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Pre-trial services OFTEN order these $$$$$ classes

LONG before a conviction and there isn't a refund should

you be found NOT GUILTY !

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

'Treatment' is a joke !!! They are most concerned w/ receiving their monthly fees , NOT rehabilitating !!!

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

We should be skeptical of private probation services. Probation management is a branch of law enforcement and people's freedom should never be subjected to for-profit non-govt schemes. Once these other counselors that sound ethical get a scent of the profits, they will want a piece of the action.

ryan_naus2000
ryan_naus2000

WHATS EVEN MORE F'D UP IS I HAVE BEEN ON PISS TESTS FOR EVERY DRUG KNOWN TO MAN AND ALCH FOR THE LAST 10 MONTHS!!!!! 4X PER MONTH (Randoms) AND YOU HAVE TO CALL BEFORE 11 EVERY DAY OR ELSE U MISS IF IT IS "YOUR TURN TO TEST TODAY" IF THAT ENDS UP BEING THE CASE YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT FROM YOUR PROBATION OFFICER IF YOU DO., RMOMS CANNOT TELL YOU.  DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET A PROB OFFICER TO CALL BACK BEFORE THE NEXT DAY??? IMPOSSIBLE....THAN YOU MISS, THAN YER IN THE DOG-HOUSE.  DOES IT SEEM LIKE ONE MIGHT HAVE A HARD TIME HOLDING A JOB....YEP....FUNNY THING ALSO,  I HAVE NOT MISSED 1 TEST AND HAVE NOT HAD 1 POSITIVE TEST....TELL ME THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO SET ME UP FOR FAILURE!!!!  I HAVE SOMEHOW MAINTAINED A JOB/PAYMENTS/PISS TESTS/PROBATION MEETINGS/ANKLE MONITOR DOWNLOADS/CLASSES/MADD PANEL AND BEING A SINGLE FATHER ALL WITHOUT A LISCENSE AND RELYING SOLELY ON PUB TRANSPORTATION........I HAVE ALL THIS TO DEAL WITH AND YES I KNOW IT'S MY FAULT BUT I WISH SOMEONE WOULD UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE SET UP TO REMAIN IN THE SYSTEM....THERE ARE NO LESS THAN 6 SEPERATE THINGS YOU MUST KEEP UP WITH OR YOU WILL REMAIN IN THE SYSTEM....THEY NEED TO HAVE 1 PERSON/AGENCY WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THESE THINGS BUT THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN!

ryan_naus2000
ryan_naus2000

CONFLICT OF INTEREST HUH????  HOW ABOUT THE JUDGES THAT OWN A LOT OF THESE PRIVATE PROBATION COMPANIES....TELL THAT STORY!!!!!!  WHAT A JOKE!

martyhumphreys
martyhumphreys

As the founder of the Sanders County Montana DUI Task force several years ago, I balked at the attitude "Penalties before Treatment" prevalent in our state as well. Instead of allowing convicted offenders to do community service in lieu of prohibitive fees for retraining prior to returning the drivers license, they raised the fees for the treatment. No exceptions. So the drunks return to the road without licenses---when will we get over the "Shame on You!" punitive approach to addictions and switch to "How can we help you?" 

The first approach has not worked, giving the second a chance might...

Martha D. Humphreys

Noxon, Montana

greatwhite
greatwhite

Probation  is the problem. This is why, there should not be level 2 therapy  =42 hours(the minimum) or more up to around 80 hours Should be 24 hours of level 1 education. for first offense.  Then alot of this would not matter. The lower cost is great for poor people like me who had to stop when broke

The public needs to write the represenatives to change laws. When you find out how much it costs you can see why it needs change. Did the represenative caught drunk dirving to the fine and the time?  Minimum  66. hours  =33 -2 hour sessions at minimum 20.00 =660.00. then fine 850.00 or more   then add50.00  a probation visit and thats 12   add lawyer its a bad system.

Livonia
Livonia

I am so glad someone finally decided to do a story on RMOMS.  They are out of control and tried to fuck with me every step of the way.  They are also clogging up the courts with their bullshit probation violations they slap everyone with.

steve1214
steve1214

The whole notion of private probation is a farce to begin with. If the clients are "low risk", then why do they need to be on probation in the first place? Why can't they simply do their community service and classes and or drug tests and go about their lives and be left alone by the statist's? The whole thing reeks of cronyism and back room smokey deals with corruption at the head of a never ending revenue stream. It seems no minor coincidence that the owner of RMOM's and Intervention etc,.. are former state probation officers themselves who secured very lucrative and lengthy contracts with their county friends, allies and associates..

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator topcommentereditor

i'd like to publish some of these comments in our print edition, ideally with your full name/town. If that's okay, e-mail me at patricia.calhoun@westword.com

Jimbob
Jimbob

Colorado: Come for Vacation, Leave on Probation!

 

RMOMS was by far the easiest agency to break the rules with, the easiest agency to cheat drug and alcohol tests, the easiest to pay for but not attend and get credit for classes. What a truly rotten organization.

plpllawson
plpllawson

The real problem is that they take away the DL and then demand the person attend classes and probation and other requirements, which makes it almost an impossibility for poor people.

 

The whole DUI laws are a joke. It's not illegal to drive after drinking, just illegal to drive over a certain limit.

newsmom
newsmom

let's see, first we privatize prisons; now we privatize the gateway to prison for those unable to ante up enough scratch to deal with their addiction. let's see...what's next...um, maybe medicare? social security? public schools? environmental protection?

 

we're on the road to nowhere, but we can take a detour in november.

Gma8x
Gma8x

That is like the army doing their own EA on Pinon Canyon----Crooked 

EA as in environmental assessment--do they tear up the land?  They say no but have you ever seen a tank that does not make big deep tracks in grass and dry land??

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Should the Catholic Church give for-profit court-ordered counsel to those Sodomized by Pedophile Priests ?

SeizeTheDay
SeizeTheDay

The bottom line for most of these places (including halfway houses, ex-inmate treatment facilites, etc) is money, not rehabilitation.  They force offenders to load up on ridiculously priced classes (most of which are a joke) and when they can't pay for the classes, on top of everything else, the program kicks them out and thus the offender is violating probation/parole.  I get that there are consequences and you have to "pay the piper", but there is no consideration at all given to a person's individual circumstance.  The criminal justice system keeps a lot of people employed, so there is big money in keeping the cycle of incarceration, parole/probation going.

ryanjohnsmith1013
ryanjohnsmith1013

 

 

When this clown opened his operation he sent letters to a multitude of agencies trying to poach Therapists. 

 

Their case managers are given numbers to meet. If they meet these financial numbers they are given bonuses. If they don't,  they are written up. They misrepresent themselves as " probation officers " in order to intimidate first time offenders into thinking they have more power than they do.

 

You get what you pay for. If you want to be treated like a number and cash register, get nothing out of group, ( even though you complete your hours ), 1st Alliance ( RMOMS ) is the place for you.

 

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. 

 

Nick Browning
Nick Browning

No, not at all. Private probation companies are in it for one thing, money... Not proper rehabilitation of their clients...

anon
anon

DUI 'counseling' is a joke all around.  A bunch of offenders sitting in a room talking about how they got screwed over and lying about how they don't drink anymore.  It's not therapy, it's punishment via 2 hours a week of utterly crushing boredom.  The only people who benefit are the providers.  You know what will lower DUI rates?  Allowing more cab companies and expanding hours and access to public transportation and increased awareness of the penalties involved in having even one drink and getting caught driving.  Recidivism rates aren't changing, they're increasing.  Get a goddamn clue that your status quo knee-jerk responses don't work.  DUI can have horrifying consequences, but two hours of pointless thumb twiddling a week after the fact won't change that. 

Brian Haar
Brian Haar

The whole Damn Dui probation system needs to be re done in my opinion... I understand people just shouldnt get in trouble... but the whole probation department.. LACK of communication between departments and courts,officials etc.. is so so horrible..something needs to change with them.. just my opinion..

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

 @fratdawgg23 Very well put . I could not agree w/ you more .

You are so correct w/ their not having ANY business in corrections or treatment.

Makes you wonder who all gets 'cut in' , when a judge orders 'classes' and the P.O. sends you to these thieves !

kwame
kwame

 @ryanjohnsmith1013 I am now forced to be with RMOMS for a second time and am really trying to figure out how I am gonna manage not violating. Curious as to what my option would be for better probation? What are my rights because I dont want to be treated by RMOMS.

ryanjohnsmith1013
ryanjohnsmith1013

 @anon You know what has reduced DUI rates in Arizona ? Mandatory 10 day jail sentences. Would you rather twiddle your thumbs in County ? 

ryanjohnsmith1013
ryanjohnsmith1013

 @kwame You can attend class wherever you would like. Transfer if you're taking classes. Your new agency will take over monitoring your treatment and RMOMS would basically answer to them ( your new agency ). 

 

You can go wherever you want for treatment. Don't let them bully you into thinking they have power that they don't. They will back down if they are aware you know the rules. If they don't, call their bluff and ask to see the judge.

 

You have rights. 

kwame
kwame

 @ryanjohnsmith1013 oh ok. i didnt do that 1st alliance shit RMOMS just supervises. I do all testing and education and stuff elsewhere.

 

 
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