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December 16, 2007

A sober (and caffeinated) look at GPS tracking realities

Sgc_tm_logo_ezrThis week brought two strong pieces from Seattle ("where coffee reigns") that thoughtfully discuss the realities of the hottest development in technocorrections: GPS tracking. Here are links and excerpts from the pieces.

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer here, "GPS for state sex offenders gets split verdict":

More than 40 states use the Global Positioning System to track offenders.  At least 15 require some kind of lifetime monitoring. In California, voters passed a punitive law last year requiring all felony sex offenders -- about 4,000 people -- to wear a tracker for life.

"We have so much business that we can hardly keep up with manufacturing. We're exploding," said David Segal, vice president of software development for Florida-based Pro Tech Monitoring, the country's main provider of GPS correctional trackers.

In Washington, tracking was a largely unfunded, little-used program until September, when Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered immediate funding for it.

From the Seattle Times here, "Are GPS devices for sex offenders worth it?":

More than 20 of the state's most violent sex offenders are tethered to tracking devices that document their locations within a half-block.  The devices are at the heart of Gov. Christine Gregoire's promise to keep people safe from sex predators.

On Wednesday, the governor asked the state Legislature for $8.2 million to better monitor sex offenders.  Nearly $1 million would go toward purchasing the tracking sets for the Department of Corrections (DOC); about $5 million would pay for in-person visits of sex offenders by law enforcement.

But community corrections officers doubt whether the $1,500 devices — ankle bracelets, locator boxes designed to be strapped on people's belts and charging units — would ensure that sex offenders are abiding by the terms of their parole.

December 16, 2007 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Perhaps for those convicted of real violent sex crimes, it would be appropriate. The problem is that they are speaking of all sex felons. That covers a huge range, since mostly all crimes are felonies in this country. It all depends on what the DA wants to charge you with.

Posted by: EJ | Dec 16, 2007 11:08:46 AM

In LA recently, a simple cross-check of GPS data with the time and place of a drive-by shooting identified one of the participants. How many dollars is that worth? A lot.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Dec 16, 2007 11:39:50 AM

Short of finding a dead raped body in a particular place where the sex offender has been (which is quite rare), can some explain the logic of "knowing where the sex offenders are keeps us safe from them" to me? I sounds useful, but when you really think about it, what's the point?

Posted by: bruce | Dec 16, 2007 1:10:51 PM

If the client cooperates with community based correction the odds of a good outcome are high and GPS just increases the level of surveillance. If the client does not cooperate the GPS device increases the probability a violation will be detected and then they can be revoked. It appears that they are putting clients on GPS who are uncooperative and they could wind up with a revocation and the possible loss of an expensive piece of equipment. The community based corrections people know better than to do something that dumb so they must be under considerable political pressure.

They are operating the GPS monitors in the tattletale mode because they are so short of staff so they don't have the security level they need and they are using very expensive equipment instead of much lower cost tattletale gear. They also know better than to do that so I suppose the politicians must think GPS is sexy (sorry that pun was not intended).

Posted by: John Neff | Dec 16, 2007 1:16:41 PM

Kent, drive-by slaying, you mean. The GPS device didn't save anyone's life. They (the gangs) will either figure a way to beat it or not let anyone wearing one participate. It will make little difference.

Posted by: George | Dec 16, 2007 10:44:55 PM

I attended a meeting last night where they reported that for 540 sex offenders on GPS monitors they had 20,000 false reports and other glitches a little of two per hour. The year before they used GPS to track the sex offenders they had 7 revocations and during the year they used the GPS monitors they had 6 revocations. To respond to the false reports and glitches took a huge amount of staff time and resources away from other programs so from a public safety point of view there was a major reduction in public safety with no compensatory gain. The Iowa taxpayers just poured $3 million down the sewer.

Posted by: John Neff | Dec 18, 2007 9:06:52 AM

Ex post facto prohibition established by the U.S. Supreme court case of Caulder -v- Bull 3 U.S. 386 (1798) which states:

"I will state what laws I consider ex post facto laws, within the words and the intent of the prohibition. 1st. Every law that makes an action , done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2nd. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed. 3rd. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender. "

Posted by: Lysander Spooner | Jul 23, 2008 8:08:12 AM

Ex post facto prohibition established by the U.S. Supreme court case of Caulder -v- Bull 3 U.S. 386 (1798) which states:

"I will state what laws I consider ex post facto laws, within the words and the intent of the prohibition. 1st. Every law that makes an action , done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2nd. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed. 3rd. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender. "

Posted by: Lysander Spooner | Jul 23, 2008 8:08:38 AM

Ex post facto prohibition established by the U.S. Supreme court case of Caulder -v- Bull 3 U.S. 386 (1798) which states:

"I will state what laws I consider ex post facto laws, within the words and the intent of the prohibition. 1st. Every law that makes an action , done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2nd. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed. 3rd. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender. "

Posted by: Lysander Spooner | Jul 23, 2008 8:08:46 AM

Very Interesting!

Great Job!

Great Blog!

Thanks Guys!

Posted by: מוסך מרצדס | Jan 6, 2011 6:33:44 AM

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