Local company looks to enter ankle monitor market, compete with duopoly

If you are convicted of a crime, there is a chance you could be stuck wearing an ankle monitor.

In Travis County there are two companies who provide this service: Victim Safety First and Recovery Healthcare, which is only for alcohol related offenses.

“I have been practicing in this area for over 11 years and these are the only two companies that I’ve ever known that provide these services,” said criminal defense attorney Jana Ortega, who says clients need to have options.

“When a person has been placed one of the devices, they put down a deposit and then they pay a monthly fee which can be hundreds of dollars, essentially the same as a car payment," Ortega said. "We need price competition. We need more locations for the services, we need them to be able to be accessible on the weekends after hours. We don't have that right now and that causes people to stay in jail for longer periods than necessary and that's something we really need to get fixed."

Safe Monitoring Solutions is a company trying to enter into this market. They distribute monitors for alcohol-related offenses and operate in all surrounding counties, except Travis.

“I think people like options. You have an option of where to go eat, you have an option for what you want to wear,” said owner Christopher Moore.

He said the main two companies often do not work after hours for clients.

“The clients, the offenders, they appreciate the fact that I can meet them on the weekend at their house because they're not able to drive,” said Moore.

They plan on making their case at the commissioners court meeting Tuesday. Working in Travis County is something that's not only a business move, but a coveted dream of theirs.

“We've been trying to participate or actually work in our home county, Travis County, for the last two years,” said Moore.

Ortega and Moore believe ultimately it's the idea of a free market that all should have access to.

“As our population grows we need more accessibility to these companies, we need more locations,” said Ortega.