An app is now being used in Whitley County to help some convicted or charged with crimes stay on the straight and narrow, keep court appearances, attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings as directed, and hopefully not use drugs.
Community Treatment & Tracking Solutions, which is located in Corbin, has been working with courts in Pulaski County and now Whitley County to offer The Air Check-In App as alternative to incarceration in some cases.
“The person is always with this app interacting with accountability for sobriety. With the GPS and facial recognition built in, accountability really helps them. We have had a lot of people in drug court use this,” said company president Raenae Moore.
“The feedback that we got is they rely on the accountability of knowing that they can’t self sabotage and not go to a meeting. Sometimes that accountability gets them through the first 90 days.”
Here is how it works.
The app is downloadable on Apple and Android smartphones.
When it is set up, a verification picture of the defendant is taken and stored in the system.
“When you set someone up that first photo gets set as their profile then it has facial recognition. When we set up their calendar then their calendar gets loaded with whatever they are required to do,” Moore said.
For instance, if a defendant is ordered to go two Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings weekly, then the phone app offers them a list of all such meetings in their area and they can pick the meeting of their choice on the day of their choice. The closest locations for a given day are listed first.
If the defendant is supposed to be at a church for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at 6 p.m. on a given day, then their phone will send them reminders about that meeting. At 6 p.m. the app opens on the defendant’s cellphone, and requests a picture of the user.
“It will sync at the GPS location where he is at. If he is at the location, then it goes into a cue that I have to view and make sure it is him and where he is at then it goes into a compliance cue. If he is non-compliant it goes into a non-compliance cue,” Moore noted.
The app stays open throughout the meeting to make sure the person doesn’t leave early.
After the meeting, the app requires defendants to take a quiz about three things they are grateful for, and three things that they identified with at the meeting.
“Studies show that gratitude makes people commit more to their sobriety,” Moore said.
The calendar function of the app also reminds people about going to court hearings.
“When their calendar is loaded and it looks like they are not where they are supposed to be they can actually get a phone call from our support center in Lexington, and say, ‘Hey, we see you are supposed to be in court right now. Do you need help?’ It gets marked in a compliance cue,” Moore said.
Defendants are required to complete a daily trigger and avoidance report through the app, which includes a handful of questions regarding relapse prevention, recognizing behaviors and attitudes.
The app can also be set to require people in medically assisted treatment, such as Vivitrol or Suboxone, to complete different daily reports.
“This is also designed to help for drug court or Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs). Then we have a recovery journal that they can interact with every day,” Moore added.
Every seven days, defendants are also required to complete a weekly “winning” report that is 56 questions long, and includes questions about warning signs, avoidance of triggers, etc.
Moore noted that the app helps people not be “technical violators,”
which are the largest number of newly incarcerated inmates in Kentucky, she added.
“If we can help people get the treatment that they need, not have technical violations and be in compliance with the court, we are really doing the community a service and it is not at the taxpayers expense,” Moore said.
Defendants pay for the app, which is $1 per day.
“This is a good alternative to home incarceration for people, who need assistance with substance abuse issues. It still has accountability and GPS tracking. We can report compliance on a daily basis,” Moore said.
The company, which has been in existence for about one year, has been working with IOP programs and DUI programs to perfect the app for treatment purposes.
The app also features a link to Voices of Hope, which is recognized by drug court and is a recovery service organization. It serves as kind of an online sponsor that drug addicts can call if they feel like they are in danger of relapsing and get support.
Other resources are also linked, such as shelter locations.