Officials say pretrial subsidy program has saved county $2M
BILLINGS, Mont - A southern Montana county is subsidizing the cost of pretrial monitoring - an effort that officials say has saved the county more than $2 million by reducing its jail population. Yellowstone County has spent about $300,000 helping defendants pay for their court ordered location, drug and alcohol monitoring since 2015. Under the subsidy program, the county pays up to $9 a day for 35 defendants who qualify for pretrial release. Defendants in the program often pay just a $1 per day depending on the type of monitoring. The county spends nearly a $100 per person to jail someone for a day. All counties in the state will take steps to reduce jail populations next year after a new law is enacted that calls for more diversion.