GPS tracking technology lets officers monitor convicts without actually keeping them incarcerated. Providing housing, security, food, health care, plus administrative costs etc. to prisoners is an expensive financial burden for most states in the US. Due to the high costs, some states are using a GPS system to track nonviolent prisoners as an alternative to keeping them locked up.
This type of GPS tracking allows authorities to monitor the criminals at all times without the responsibility of keeping them incarcerated. While the GPS tracking system make it easier for states to track offenders, the use of such systems does have its downsides.
As jail overcrowding continues to be an issue in many counties, many use GPS enabled ankle bracelet monitors to keep tabs on inmates. The simple reason is to save money, but it doesn’t come without some concern for public safety. According to recent news report, using a GPS tracking system could save the county up to $25 a day per inmate, which adds up to about $9,500 a year per inmate.
Many GPS experts believe assigning a nonviolent criminal a GPS tracking device after release from jail or prison may prevent him from engaging in future crimes. They say a criminal will know he is being watched and monitored, and will likely realize that committing an illegal act will ultimately result in another arrest.
GPS tracking devices are often used after the release of sex offenders. Some states require offenders to wear a tracking device for life, regardless of whether he has served his whole prison term. When a criminal is assigned a GPS tracking device, corrections officials place a permanent bracelet placed on his ankle. This makes it possible to track the person 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For instance, if a registered sex offender comes closer to a school than he is allowed, the monitor notifies authorities. Authorities are also notified if someone tries to remove the tracking bracelet.
But what happens when these GPS tracking systems fail? According to Gordon Hinkle, a spokesman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California monitors about 6,500 sex offenders using a GPS tracking system. Each month, about 50 sex offenders statewide who should be monitored by parole agents are on the lam, he said. For example, according to Corrections Reporter, the GPS tracking system used by the Colorado state Corrections Department to track released sex offenders failed a few months ago. BI Inc.told the Corrections Department that its nationwide GPS tracking system for 16,000 offenders was down due to a system malfunction. Yikes!