For two decades, community corrections agencies have sought to transition individuals to community supervision – on probation, parole, pretrial release or work release – to lessen pressure on jails and prisons, reduce costs, and allow individuals at lower risk to continue to work and live in the community while they are involved in the criminal justice system. Technology has played an important assistive role in allowing this trend to continue.
Often, agencies consider GPS tracking systems as the most advanced technological option among electronic supervision options. BI Incorporated has helped agencies set up GPS tracking programs for decades, and a recently updated white paper, “Implementing a GPS Tracking Program for Community-based Supervision: What You Need to Know,” was born from the experiences of BI experts and community corrections agency professionals nationwide. The white paper details several of the key questions when considering a GPS program, beginning with establishing your goals first.
What are the Goals for the GPS Monitoring Program?
When considering a GPS monitoring program, community corrections agencies should define why it is being implemented and have clear long-term goals for the program. Some reasons to implement a GPS program include:
- Reduce incarceration costs
- Reduce recidivism
- Behavior modification through accountability
- Monitoring compliance with court conditions of release
- Gradual reduction in restrictions with demonstrated compliance
Nuts and Bolts of a GPS Tracking Program
After establishing goals for your agency, and ensuring you have the buy-in of the key stakeholders supporting your agencies, it’s important to research your vendor options, geographical situation, budget and much more. The white paper covers these topics and more:
Person to be monitored:
When will the GPS tracking system be used in the judicial process—the pretrial or post-conviction phase? Will GPS monitoring be used long-term for those individuals released on probation or parole?
Check partner experience:
Before implementing a GPS monitoring program, a community corrections agency should understand there are no minimum standards of performance established for GPS tracking or for technical support. Check references, track records and dig into how your team will be training and supported over time.
Consider how it will affect your agency:
Implementing a GPS monitoring program might require making changes to the structure of the agency and require new protocols and procedures be created to implement the program. You may want to handle the day to day of running a program internally or outsource the bulk of the work. Explore your options to find a fit that matches your agency’s needs and don’t forget there are many choices when it comes to GPS equipment, so considering your geographic situation is very important.
Every agency has unique budget constraints, so carefully run the numbers to see what a GPS tracking program costs in relationship to your sought-after goals. It’s important to consider not just start up costs, but how a program will affect your budget over the long term.
Established more than 40 years ago to support community corrections agencies, BI Incorporated is a partner for agencies and available to help agencies explore if a GPS tracking program is right for their situation. To read or download the white paper, click here.