In 2011, the National Institute of Justice released results of a large study that found when offenders were placed on electronic monitoring they were less likely to fail conditions of community release.
California lawmakers have vowed legislation to make tampering with their electronic tracking devices a crime that sends offenders back to prison. The legislation was prompted an increase in the number of sex offenders violating parole and tampering with their GPS tracking devices.
Like many counties in California, Madera County has partnered with BI Incorporated to address issues related to jail crowding and limited funds for jail expansion. Madera County has worked with BI for several years. Initially, the probation department used BI’s electronic monitoring services, including GPS tracking for higher risk offenders.
In the American Correctional Association’s Corrections Today, Philip Bulman, a writer and editor at the National Institute of Justice, writes that electronic monitoring can significantly reduce the likelihood of failure when an offender is released to community supervision. He cites a large National Institute of Justice-funded study of Florida offenders placed on electronic monitoring, in which the risk of failing conditions of release were reduced by 31 percent when the offender was placed on some form of electronic monitoring.
As has been well documented in recent years, jails and prisons are at or above capacity in many jurisdictions. The most recent report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicated there were 2.3 million inmates in local jails or in custody of state or federal prisons, a jump of 700 percent from 1973 to 2009.
AB 109, also known as prisoner realignment, is California’s solution for reducing the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prisons to 137.5 percent design capacity by May 24, 2013, as ordered by the U.S.