Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jail or GPS?

State courts are turning to electronic monitoring as a way to alleviate overcrowded prisons, according to an article on Reuters about the growing use of GPS as a crime-fighting tool.

Hawaii lawmakers this session passed out a bill that would give judges the authority to require a person who violates a temporary restraining order to where an electronic monitoring device. Authorities would be alerted via satellite to computer server if the offender enters a restrictive zone, usually the work and home area of the victim. Advocates against domestic violence worked with legislators to draft this electronic monitoring bill that they believe can save the lives of many women and could have prevented the recent spurt of domestic violence deaths this past year.

According to the article, North Carolina's eastern Pitt County now releases more accused batterers on bond and track them with GPS since implementing the program in 2005. By using this technology, more space is available in the jails and authorities are still aware of the whereabouts of the offender before their trial date.

But does it work? Could electronic monitoring be an alternative to our prison issues and still guarantee the safety of the victims of domestic violence?

Here's and excerpt from the article regarding the county's success:
In a measure of success, police dispatchers receive fewer calls involving the same person when an offender wears a GPS bracelet. Pitt County's recidivism rate for domestic violence fell from 36 percent in 2004 to 14 percent this year, said Sgt. John Guard of local sheriff's domestic violence unit.
But once batterers finish the program and go off GPS, the rate shot back up to around 40 percent, he added.
"It may help in the short term pre-trial. But post-trial, it's not. That tells me there are other things we have to do to ensure the safety of the victims," he said

1 comment:

Autumn Moon said...

Personally, I think GPS monitoring along with castration would be more effective, but the GPS monitoring alons is a good place to start.