Categories: law and legal

Why GPS Monitoring is Not the Best Solution for Pretrial Release

Why GPS Monitoring is Not the Best Solution for Pretrial Release
As jails begin to see rising inmate populations and draw nearer to overcrowded conditions, many officials are looking for alternatives to housing pretrial inmates. With the advancement of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, many believe that they can use it to help keep track of criminals who are released before trial instead of having to keep them locked up in the jails.In some ways, the idea of using GPS tracking is a good plan. It can eliminate the costs that many counties incur from housing inmates in local jails, which also include feeding and healthcare costs. At the same time, fewer inmates are inside the jail, making it easier for officers to monitor and control the population.For those counties that have chosen to use GPS monitoring, there are strict regulations in place which determine who is eligible for this type of pretrial release. It is limited to non-violent offenders. This is a good option for inmates who need to work or go to school or attend rehabilitative programs.While there are positive benefits for using GPS monitoring, there are still many flaws in the system that prevent it from being the best solution as a pretrial release program.Inconsistent MonitoringGPS technologies have become so advanced that you can pinpoint someone almost to their exact spot on the sidewalk. But all of those advancements mean little when you don't have enough people monitoring inmates that are wearing the GPS device. If the person watching the monitor doesn't have a vested interest in keeping a close eye on the inmates' movements, they are more likely to get distracted or stop watching all together.There have been several reports of inmates wearing GPS devices who left their designated location or entered an area where they are not permitted to go as agreed upon in their release agreement. It is absolutely vital for the monitoring of inmates to be consistent in order to prevent these types of violations.If the Device is Removed…This is one of the main reasons that GPS monitoring isn't a reliable means for releasing inmates before trial. A determined person can remove the GPS device, giving the monitoring company no information except where the inmate was when they took it off and fled.These inmates can be on the run for months before they are caught again, usually after they have committed another crime.Tracking Doesn't Prevent CrimesEven though the inmate is being tracked by GPS that still doesn't tell the monitoring company what the person is doing. If they are permitted to go into a store, there is no way of knowing for sure if that inmate is just buying milk or committing a robbery.There are too many things that can go wrong with GPS tracking to rely on it as an effective pretrial release solution. Many improvements would have to be made to the system beforehand.If the system was combined with what is already an effective way to release inmates awaiting trial, such as the bail bond system, then there is a better chance that GPS monitoring can work.This is because of accountability. Bail bond agents are already financially invested in making sure that an inmate returns to jail. A bondsman will make sure that their clients are being monitored properly and are exactly where they need to be.

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