Ryan Gubbins, Tri-County Monitoring Services, Grand Traverse County

When you’re on probation, you’re often ordered to take drug and alcohol tests. There are organizations that make a business out of doing the testing. We all hope and expect that these agencies do their job honestly. But what happens when they don’t?

This particular probation testing company, Tri-County Monitoring Services, operated by Ryan Gubbins, decided to take it upon themselves to decide who had to comply with probation and who didn’t. In this case, a woman came to Gubbins’ testing agency for court-ordered alcohol tests. Somewhere along the way, she stopped showing up to test.

For reasons we don’t know, Gubbins falsified reports and submitted them to the court. The reports said that the woman was showing up to test and testing clean when she wasn’t even showing up.

In this case, a probation officer suspected that something was up and cared enough to do something about it. Gubbins literally gave the officer the run around as she traced Gubbins all over town to try to make sense of the testing records.

Gubbins ended up pleading guilty to obstructing justice.

Both the 86th District Court and the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor brag about receiving big government grants to run recovery court programs, in part because they claim to honestly and effectively monitor offenders while on probation. At least in this one probation case, the system failed.

My question is, what safeguards are in place to ensure that testing agencies do their jobs honestly? And would they ever make it public if a testing agency didn’t live up to their obligation, given that big grant money and the success of their program is on the line?

The theme of the articles on Gubbins was – we shut this one down, and we’re good now. How do we know that? How do you know that? What audits, blind checks and other safeguards are in place? Lives are on the line.

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