Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence’

Evidence shows GPS monitoring technology is a reliable tool

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Previously in this space, I focused on the legislative changes which will bring more GPS monitoring to the state of Georgia. Those changes were documented as part of a study on national corrections reform completed in 2011 and 2012 by The Sentencing Project.

The discussion of increased GPS monitoring in Wisconsin has brought to light some questions about the reliability of GPS as a tool for monitoring offenders. I would like to address those questions.

Legislators in Madison are discussing a new budget which would provide funds for the electronic monitoring of all individuals under a restraining order due to incidents of domestic violence. Wisconsin currently uses GPS technology on some, but not all, domestic violence offenders. However, the new budget would greatly increase their reliance on it.

The GPS discussion in Wisconsin has included evidence the technology has failed. The ability of GPS to consistently deliver accurate information in a timely manner has been questioned. Further, false alerts from GPS monitoring equipment have been blamed for unnecessarily sending individuals back to jail, even though they had not done anything wrong.

It is difficult to hear about these shortcomings, as they undoubtedly put a community"s safety and numerous individuals" rights at risk. Yet, there is still plenty of evidence to support the over-all effectiveness of GPS monitoring as a tool for law enforcement officials in various jurisdictions.

For example, a study completed in California in 2012 found GPS monitoring in that state led to a greater level of compliance from those under supervision. In addition, the study found less recidivism amongst individuals being monitored by GPS when compared to those being supervised in more traditional ways.

This study also pointed out several positives of GPS monitoring. First it gives flexibility by providing a viable alternative to incarceration. Further, the information provided to agencies by GPS technology is invaluable. This real-time data assists agents in controlling offenders under supervision. In addition, the GPS monitoring information is often admissible in court in the event an offender commits a crime.

Another study completed in Florida in 2010 found electronic monitoring meets the goals of the agencies using it in that state. This report indicated the risk of an offender failing was reduced by 31 percent when he was electronically monitored. This benefit was seen among offenders of all age groups.

GPS monitoring technology is currently getting some negative attention in Wisconsin. However, published reports show it is still an effective and reliable tool to use in the monitoring of offenders. As evidenced by many government agencies, the quality of the device is vital to the success of the program. Since STOP has the most proven one-piece device available, we are always ready to show agencies what a difference we provide.

National Stalking Awareness Month

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Stalker Alert, a victim notification device

January 2011 was the eighth observance of National Stalking Awareness Month. This designation resulted from the diligent work of the National Center for Victims of Crime to increase awareness of stalking and its prevelence. According to the Stalking Resource Center, 3.4 million people who are of the age of 18 are staked each year, and 3 in 4 victims are stalked by someone they know. STOP worked hard to develop Stalker Alert, a product to notify victims of the presence of known stalkers.

Stalker Alert provides 24-hour advanced notice to a victim regarding the presence of the accused stalker no matter where the victim is located at the time. Previous systems relied on exclusion zones, or prohibited areas for the stalker, around the victim"s home, work and other designated locations. But notification did not occur if the victim went outside of these fixed locations. With Stalker Alert, a victim can resume her normal routine while having the ability to receive advance notice about the presence of the known stalker"so she can implement her safety plan.

For more important information about stalking, visit www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org.

Strengthening domestic violence protection orders with GPS

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Domestic violence has always been an issue, but in recent years it’s been the focus of more attention from legislators and media outlets. I knew domestic violence was a relatively common event, but I was surprised to learn the number of victims. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states one in four women in the United States suffers from physical, emotional and sexual attacks by partners in her lifetime.

Between July 2009 and May 2010, a large California county family court system issued more than 5,300 temporary restraining orders related to domestic violence cases. These cases didn’t involve divorce or criminal behavior as an underlying reason.

STOP recently released Stalker Alert, a victim notification device, that’s used in conjunction with BluTag.

Defendants who are court-ordered to have their movements tracked by BluTag must follow the rules and restrictions associated with an order of protection and any other legal warrants. At the same time, the victim’s provided with a Stalker Alert device and educated on using it.

Most GPS devices today rely on static areas where the defendant’s ordered to stay away from. With Stalker Alert, the orders of protection allow a buffer zone to follow the victim as he/she live their lives. They aren’t restricted to stay in their home because they will be alerted of the defendant’s violation of the protection order.

In the event the defendant comes within a predetermined distance of the victim, Stalker Alert generates an alert, which is sent to the victim and the supervising officer and law enforcement if necessary. This customizable notification device may allow the victim to implement his/her personal protection plan and request assistance.

Any option allowing better notification to a victim regarding potential conflict is worth the investment.