Electronic Monitoring of Offenders has More Than Doubled in 10 Years
According to a recent report from The Pew Charitable Trusts the number of accused and convicted offenders placed on electronic monitoring rose nearly 140 percent over 10 years, thanks in large part to a sharp increase in the use of GPS technology.
The findings are based on a survey conducted in December 2015. More than 125,000 people were supervised with electronic tracking devices in 2015, compared to 53,000 individuals in 2005. As noted by Pew, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government use electronic monitoring to track the movements of pretrial defendants and convicted offenders who are on probation or parole.
This study also supports the general feeling in community corrections that expanded use of EM and GPS tracking is the result of more reliable GPS tracking systems and the expansion of alternatives to detention that reduce pressure on jails and prisons. As the public, as well as probation and parole officers, have become more comfortable with technology, GPS tracking use has expanded. GPS tracking has now been on the market for almost two decades, with systems benefiting from extensive environmental testing and ongoing advancements in technology that are being incorporated rapidly into these systems.
In recent years, as state and local budgets have leveled off and even shrunk for jails and prisons, officials have sought to move offenders to community supervision. Many agencies have sought more accountability for these individuals released to community supervision, and GPS tracking and EM have offered a solution.
To calculate their figures for the survey, researchers counted the number of active GPS and radio-frequency units reported by the companies that manufacture and operate them. As a provider of electronic monitoring technology, BI Incorporated works with law enforcement agencies across the country to provide GPS tracking, RF monitoring and alcohol detection devices that help supervising officers manage their caseloads as they work to meet the needs of each offender.
The Pew report also delves into how electronic tracking works and how researchers measured the use of the devices, in addition to discussing how GPS technology drove the increase.