Archive for February, 2013

GPS technology isn t just for enrollees considered high risk

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

GPS monitoring equipment is a viable supervision tool for enrollees with any risk level, which is demonstrated in a recent incident involving a juvenile in Marion County, Indiana. Even though the juvenile suspected of participating in a two-county crime spree was on electronic monitoring, it was RF technology. It is designed to report only when an enrollee is home and when he/she leaves. Marion County has four GPS monitoring devices that are reserved for juveniles classified as high risk.

So, here"s a juvenile not classified as high risk, yet he"s a suspect in fives crimes committed in two counties. Based on his curfew schedule, he left home on time in the morning. This didn t generate any kind of notification because he was complying with his supervision requirements. However, what the juvenile"s probation officer didn t know until much later was the juvenile never arrived at a school and became a suspect in several crimes.

Generally when enrollees are placed on RF monitoring, the supervising agent must drive around the jurisdiction at various times of the day and night with a mobile monitoring unit to confirm the enrollee is at the location he"s required to be at that time, such as school, work or home.

As the news story points out, staffing shortages hamper the Marion County Juvenile Probation Department"s ability to keep tabs on juveniles 24 hours a day. Additionally, the story points out some juveniles think nothing will happen if they violate their supervision requirements because they re not monitored all day every day.

BLUtag GPS Monitoring Device

GPS monitoring devices track the movements of subjects on a 24/7 basis and can help keep enrollees stay compliant with their supervision requirements. If they aren t compliant, these devices immediately notify supervising agents through email or text message.

In addition to tracking an enrollee’s movements, GPS technology allows an agency to identify specific areas where the enrollee must be, such as school or work, and places he must avoid, such as parks or shopping malls, during certain hours of the day.

Understandably, supervising agencies need cost-effective ways to increase the accountability of enrollees. The around-the-clock tracking capability of GPS devices provides a way for agencies to use its resources wisely and maintain community safety.

GPS technology continues to be a valuable tool for supervising agencies

Monday, February 18th, 2013

A recent news story in the Washington Post reports less than 10 percent of the 1,351 defendants released from custody into the DC Pretrial Services Agency"s GPS monitoring program in 2012 were charged with new a crime. The story notes in 2012 at least 11 pretrial defendants were charged with violent crimes while awaiting trial.

It is always disturbing when a crime is committed, especially a violent one. However, the crucial role GPS monitoring devices play in effectively supervising enrollees in the community cannot be negated by infractions like the ones described in Washington Post story. The need for using GPS technology to monitor, supervise and track the movements of various populations, such as pretrial defendants, gang members, sex offenders, etc., continues due to the realities of our criminal justice system.

Facing crowded jails and back-logged court dockets, judges, prosecutors and other court officials often face difficult decisions when determining if a defendant can be back on the street until his/her trial date. GPS provides a viable option the best one short of continued incarceration or 24/7 shadowing by a law enforcement official when it comes to monitoring a defendant"s whereabouts.

In addition, on the rare occasions an enrollee a GPS monitoring program does commit a new crime, the tracking system provides law enforcement officials with vital information about the enrollee"s location around the time of the crime. Most importantly, GPS data has and continues to lead officials to an enrollee"s location and provides court-admissible evidence of where the enrollee travelled before, during and after the crime in question.

California study: low repeat offense rate for those under supervision

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

The assumption that most arrests involve people who are on parole or probation is unfounded according to an extensive study recently completed in the state of California. The study, conducted in four cities by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, found approximately one in five arrests involved an individual under probation or parole supervision; the majority of arrests involved people who were not under supervision.

The study, the first of its kind, focused on more than 2.5 million adult arrest, probation supervision and parole supervision records from Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Redlands between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2011, which is shortly before California"s Prison Realignment legislation went into effect. The study provides valuable baseline information to use in gauging the future effectiveness of the realignment, which moved the supervision of California"s parolees into the counties hands from the state.

While the over-all results of the study indicate those on parole and probation are not likely to be arrested, there is one type of arrest to which they are disproportionately susceptible. More than one-third of drug arrests analyzed in the study involved people on parole and probation. One theory posited for this discrepancy is those individuals on parole and probation are more likely to suffer from mental illness and/or drug dependency issues. The researchers propose an increase in mental health and drug addiction services for those under supervision may be an appropriate response to this finding.

The study concludes the most effective way to reduce crime is to focus on the 80 percent of the population not under supervision. In addition, the researchers advise augmenting these efforts by better targeting the small portion of the parole and probation population who are disproportionately breaking laws, especially drug-related ones.

Obviously, more research is needed, particularly in California with the implementation of the Realignment legislation. However, this study, which happened with extensive cooperation between the police chiefs of all four cities and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, provides a good starting point for discussing many aspects of community supervision. Among those areas needing more discussion include how electronic monitoring can improve collaboration between parole, probation and law enforcement agencies. Hopefully states, counties and cities across the nation will take these results and not just talk about the issues, but work diligently toward solutions.