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  • Use a GPS Tracker for electronic monitoring possible option

     Since the 1960s, the location of offenders under community supervision has been monitored with the assistance of electronic devices. Increasingly, electronic monitoring relies on technology that uses the global positioning system (GPS) to monitor offenders. The adoption of GPS monitoring has been facilitated by court decisions that find this form of surveillance can be employed without violating the offender’s constitutional rights. In fact, some states now require the use of  personal GPS tracker for certain perceived high-risk offender groups, particularly sex offenders. GPS monitoring has also become more common in the supervision of domestic violence and drug offenders, as well as supervises with gang affiliations. Although it has become an accepted part of community supervision, GPS monitoring is not without its complications.

     

    GPS technology was created by the U.S. Department of Defense in the 1970s. Over time, GPS has been adapted for nonmilitary purposes and has become more affordable and portable. Usually combined with radio-frequency receivers, computer technology, and cell phone service, GPS utilizes satellites orbiting the earth to communicate information in real time (or near real time) about geographic location. In community corrections, offenders are generally required to wear a tamper-resistant, battery-operated radio-frequency transmitter around the ankle. They also must carry a Portable GPS Tracker unit with them, usually strapped around the waist or shoulder or carried by hand. If the offender fails to carry or attempts to disable the GPS Tracking Manufacturers China, enters a prohibited area, or leaves his or her home without authorization, an alert is issued to a central monitoring unit, overseen by corrections professionals or a private contractor. The offender’s supervisor is then notified. Even if the offender has not acted in violation of his or her supervision conditions, the supervisor can track the offender’s movements from stored data, which might be useful in identifying, or eliminating, the offender in reports of new crimes. Some newer GPS units can also determine alcohol consumption.

    Passive, active, and hybrid GPS monitoring systems are currently in use. Unlike active systems, which constantly relay real-time location information via cell phone service to a central monitoring system, passive systems relay information only when the offender connects the GPS  tracker device  to a docking station, usually connected with a land-line telephone. Hybrid systems are also available; these report information every few hours, and if an alert is detected, the real-time active system is triggered. GPS programs attempt to balance the integration of offenders into the community with public safety and security. GPS monitoring is significantly cheaper than incarceration. A cost analysis conducted in Florida estimated that enrolling all sex offenders in a GPS monitoring program would cost $8 million, but incarcerating them would cost $56 million. Also, to the degree that GPS monitoring diverts offenders from incarceration, it can lessen problems associated with overcrowding in jails and prisons.
     
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