Posts Tagged ‘court docket backlog’

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.