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Keeping Track of Electronic Monitoring

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					                           National Law Enforcement and
                           Corrections Technology Center
A Program of the National                                                                                  October 1999
   Institute of Justice




                            Keeping Track of
                         Electronic Monitoring
    A     s the Nation’s prison population has grown,
           so has the need for safe, viable, cost-effective
    alternatives to incarceration. Programs such as
                                                              of-sentence prisoners, and the Netherlands, are
                                                              currently reviewing the use of EM.

    home detention, early release, expanded parole,           Advantages Over Incarceration
    and work release provide options, but effective
    supervision—increasingly through electronic moni-         EM offers two distinct advantages over incarceration:
    toring (EM)—is essential if these programs are to         s   It reduces the public’s tax burden by allowing the
    be successful.                                                offender to work and, subsequently, to pay for
    A properly run electronic monitoring program                  EM costs.
    (EMP) can be a cost-effective, community-friendly         s   It reduces prison and jail overcrowding by
    program to harbor “low-risk” offenders. EM is an              providing a viable alternative to incarceration.
    alternative to incarceration for individuals on regular
                                                              The average cost of EM has been estimated at be-
    probation, with pretrial status, or nearing the end of
                                                              tween $5 and $25 per day, compared with a $50
    a minor drug, alcohol, or misdemeanor sentence.
                                                              per day average cost of keeping an offender in a
    Participants also may include juveniles and first-time
                                                              detention center. (In South Carolina, for example,
    misdemeanor offenders.
                                                              the State Probation and Parole Department esti-
    Use of house arrest electronic monitoring began in        mates a cost of $16.89 per day to supervise a
    the early 1980s. By the beginning of the 1990s,           parolee electronically. Incarceration costs average
    the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports, approxi-        $40 a day.) The community benefits because of-
    mately 400 EMPs involved 12,000 offenders. After          fenders are paying taxes, taking care of their fami-
    the Federal crime bill calling for more alternatives to   lies, and sometimes even going to school to increase
    incarceration passed in 1994, use of EM rose even         their future employment options.
    more. As of January 1998, approximately 1,500
                                                              Despite the benefits of electronic monitoring,
    programs existed and 95,000 electronic monitoring
                                                              members of the public have a key concern: They
    units were in use, including those being used by
                                                              are worried about the possibility of an EM offender
    individuals on pretrial status, home detention, pro-
                                                              “walking off” or escaping from the program. If an
    bation, and parole as well as in juvenile detention.
                                                              EM offender is not where he is scheduled to be or if
    While the United States is at the forefront in em-        he decides to walk off, the incident is reported to
    ploying EM technology, other countries are not            the supervising agency and sometimes to local law
    far behind. Canada, Singapore, and Sweden have            enforcement for assistance in apprehension. One
    also received government approval to use the tech-        study in a major city showed that approximately 75
    nology, and others, including the United Kingdom,         percent of “walk offs” were caught within 24 hours;
    which began a program in January 1999 for end-            in fact, studies indicate that electronic monitoring
    programs respond to an unauthorized absence                Passive or Active?
    within an average of 20 minutes.
                                                               EM systems are either “passive” or “active.” In a
                                                               passive system, the offender typically has to answer
    What Is Electronic Monitoring?                             a telephone and speak to a case officer or insert the
    Electronic monitoring is a general term that               transmitter into the HMD to verify his or her pres-
    encompasses a wide range of systems and system             ence. In an active system—currently the more
    components. Many manufacturers contribute to               popular and reliable of the two—the transmitter
    this growing industry, offering a range of options         emits a continuous signal to the HMD. If the of-
    that include home monitoring devices, wrist brace-         fender moves out of range, the HMD alerts the
    lets, ankle bracelets, field monitoring devices, alco-     central monitoring center.
    hol testing devices, and voice verification systems.       Passive and active systems each have their own
    While participating in an EMP, an offender wears           set of advantages. Voice verification systems—
    an electronic transmitter bracelet (which may re-          considered passive systems—require an offender
    semble a watch) around a wrist or an ankle. Each           to answer a home telephone or to call a number
    offender is assigned a uniquely coded signal. In the       shown on a pager. Voice verification systems create
    most commonly used house arrest programs, the              electronic voice prints that determine whether
    transmitter emits a signal to a home monitoring            the offender’s voice during a check-in phone call
    device (HMD) in the offender’s residence. The de-          matches the voice print given during enrollment in
    vice communicates through the offender’s phone             the program. If an offender is responding to a page,
    line with the central computer in a monitoring             the system can capture the telephone number, then
    center, where monitoring specialists are available         determine the offender’s location. This newer tech-
    24 hours a day.                                            nology has an advantage over the more traditional
                                                               insertion of a bracelet into an HMD because the
    Some jurisdictions require EMP participants to be          bracelet could be inserted by someone other than
    employed, attend outside counseling, or participate        the offender. Another passive system requires the
    in authorized programs (such as Alcoholics Anony-          offender to breathe into a home device that can
    mous or Narcotics Anonymous). Some participants            determine whether the offender has been drinking
    also attend school to obtain their high school diplo-      alcohol. These types of systems are described in
    mas or develop job skills. The offender must com-          more detail below.
    plete a schedule of his daily activities, which is
    entered into the central computer by the case              Active systems track an offender’s whereabouts
    officer or the monitoring specialist.                      on a more continuous basis. The most advanced
                                                               systems use global positioning system technology
    The monitoring specialist alerts the electronic            to monitor the offender 24 hours a day in any
    monitoring program if a signal indicates a deviation       location. Active systems are not dependent on an
    from the offender’s preapproved schedule. For              offender’s cooperation, such as placement of a
    example, the offender may be scheduled to leave            telephone call, a benefit that is especially important
    the house at 8 a.m. for work, school, or an Alco-          in domestic violence cases. In these cases, the vic-
    holics Anonymous meeting, yet the transmitter              tim may be equipped with a home device that alerts
    may show the offender is leaving at 5:30 a.m.              her, as well as legal authorities, when the offender
    The monitoring specialist also sends an alert if the       enters a predetermined zone around her house.
    offender violates a predetermined set of EM regula-        The victim also may wear a device that sounds
    tions. Notification to the EMP can occur through           when the offender enters a specified range around
    a pager, fax, telephone call, or daily report. The         the victim.
    EMP is then responsible for acting on the violation.
    The EMP should be staffed for 24-hour monitoring,          System Components
    just as if the offender were still in an institution, to
    allow for an immediate response to a violation or          EM systems consist of a number of components
    an alert.                                                  that interact to monitor offenders. These compo-
                                                               nents are described on the following page.



2
Home Monitoring Devices                                A home unit is not necessary with all transmitters.
                                                       One manufacturer offers a transmitter that closely
The home monitoring device is installed in the
                                                       resembles a watch. It sends out a signal as many
offender’s home for use with a transmitter that the
offender wears at all times. The HMD uses the          as seven times a day, telling the offender to call the
                                                       phone number that shows up on the watch. The
offender’s telephone line and jack. The device also
                                                       host computer can identify who is calling, from
should have the following:
                                                       which telephone number, and whether the offender
s   Capability to report tampering and loss of         has tampered with the watch. Each day, a report
    electrical power.                                  details all calls and tampers.
s   Memory retention so it can report all saved        Another system goes beyond the basic elements
    messages when electrical power is restored
                                                       listed above. Used primarily in domestic violence
    after an outage.
                                                       cases, it includes a receiver for the victim’s home
s   Sufficient battery backup (at least 48 hours) in   that detects if the offender’s transmitter is within
    the event of a prolonged power loss.               150 feet of the home. The victim is also given a
s   Waterproofing and protection against pest          proximity detection device that emits a high-pitched
    infestation.                                       squeal when the offender’s transmitter is within
s   An internal antenna to prevent offender            range. The device works both inside and outside. In
    tampering.                                         a building, the range is 150 to 200 feet, while the
                                                       range outside extends up to 500 feet. The victim
The HMD requires at least a 120-volt outlet for        also wears an emergency pendant for use in re-
ample power and should not be big, bulky, or           ceiver range, such as in the victim’s home. When
heavy. Most units weigh no more than 5 pounds.         activated, it tells the receiver to call the monitoring
                                                       center. The system also contacts the victim if the
Transmitters                                           offender carries out any unauthorized activity.
Transmitters are wrist or ankle bracelets worn by
the offender to signal the offender’s whereabouts.     Field Monitoring Devices
To be effective, transmitters should be:               A verification unit called a field monitoring device
                                                       (FMD) offers the ability to verify that an offender is
s   Light and manageable, preferably no bigger than
                                                       wearing a transmitter while out in public. FMDs are
    a pack of cigarettes.
                                                       extremely versatile because they are relatively small
s   Shockproof and waterproof, allowing the of-        and light, have a radius of at least 100 feet, and can
    fender to work, bathe, or swim without damag-      be handheld or mounted on a vehicle’s roof. FMDs
    ing the transmitter’s internal parts or overall    can tell an officer which offender is in the area by
    structure.                                         the transmitter number, and whether the bracelet
s   Tamperproof, so the offender cannot interfere      has been tampered with by anyone. Such “onsite
    with its effectiveness.                            verification” is a key element to a successful EMP
                                                       because it ensures public safety and offender com-
The transmitter strap must be able to fit offenders
                                                       pliance. In addition, FMDs allow officers to respond
of all sizes, replaceable, durable for all weather     quickly to EM violations and check on offenders
conditions, and hypoallergenic to prevent adverse
                                                       without their knowledge. An FMD produced by one
medical reactions. All transmitters are battery
                                                       manufacturer can track up to 1,000 events, which
operated.                                              can be downloaded to the host computer for a
One type of transmitter is a bracelet that resembles   complete record of events.
a seatbelt buckle attached to a sports watch. The
transmitter has a wire running through the band        Alcohol Testing Devices
that breaks when it is removed. Since the transmit-    Incarcerated offenders are prohibited from drinking
ter is both shockproof and waterproof, the offender    alcohol, so many EMPs require alcohol testing to
should not need to remove it during his daily rou-     ensure that participants in those programs are not
tine. If it is removed, an alarm alerts the police.    drinking either. Preferably, alcohol testing should be
                                                       done in a random rather than a patterned cycle.


                                                                                                                 3
    Furthermore, equipment should be in place to             Voice Verification Systems
    determine if the person taking the alcohol test is
                                                             Voice verification is a crucial component of many
    actually the offender.
                                                             EMPs. Voice verification may require a lengthy
    Not all EM equipment vendors offer this option,          setup period, but initial time investments will pay
    but the vendors that do have several testing devices     off. Once operational, the unit will be able to test
    that attach to the HMD and notify the offender           the offender’s voice pattern several times a day with
    when to take an alcohol test. These notifications        the utmost precision.
    can be scheduled randomly or for specific times.
                                                             When an offender enrolls in a program that offers
    Some devices send alcohol test calls whenever the
                                                             voice verification, the offender’s voice is recorded
    offender’s transmitter registers that the offender is
                                                             as an electronic “voice print” and stored in the
    entering the home after a specific period of time
                                                             monitoring center for future listening by the EMP.
    away. Some companies offer technology that pro-
                                                             Programs should require offenders to state a phrase
    vides a picture of the individual taking the test. The
                                                             or a short sentence, because one word will not ac-
    offender with a visual telephone can confirm that he
                                                             curately verify their presence. During each call, the
    is home by sending a picture of himself through the
                                                             voice verification system determines whether the
    telephone. For example, one company’s video dis-
                                                             caller’s voice matches the voiceprint on file. The
    play telephone sends a black and white image to
                                                             system may even analyze sounds in the background
    the monitoring center with the push of a button.
                                                             to help determine whether the offender is in the
    Another system can test the offender by asking him
                                                             location he should be at a given time.
    to send a picture of himself performing specific
    tasks, such as holding up two fingers. Others re-        Offenders may be required to call the monitoring
    quire the offender to touch the unit with his face to    center or they may receive a call prompting them to
    activate the test and remain touching the unit dur-      state their social security number, date of birth, or
    ing the entire test without interruption. Otherwise,     the time of day, or to repeat the phrase or sentence
    the test fails automatically.                            recorded earlier. If the offender provides incorrect
                                                             personal data or the phrase or sentence does not
    If a offender tests positive for alcohol, the HMD
                                                             match the one recorded, the offender fails the test
    sends a message alerting the monitoring center of
                                                             and the monitoring center is notified. Most systems
    a violation, and the center then sends an alert mes-
    sage to the EMP. When a reading is positive, the
    HMD usually generates a request for a second read-
    ing to guard against false positives. If the second
    reading is positive, EMP personnel should go to
    the offender’s residence to administer a field test.

    Alcohol testing devices should:

    s   Require a lengthy breath cycle (at least 5 to 7
        seconds) to ensure that the offender is breathing
        from the lungs and not just blowing breath from
        inside the mouth. A deep-lung sample provides a
        higher level of accuracy.
    s   Be compatible with the HMD.
    s   Have tamper-detection qualities.
    s   Be easily programmable and allow the officer to
        determine when the offender is going to receive
        test calls.
    s   Be as accurate as the testing devices used by law
        enforcement agencies. One manufacturer claims
        its equipment is accurate within 5 percent.



4
allow the offender to take the voice verification test   activities for an entire day and pinpoint an offen-
twice before alerting the monitoring center. This        der’s location at any given time or place. The track-
allows a slim margin of error in case an offender        ing device the offender wears can be programmed
has a cold, sounds out of breath, or has just awak-      to specify “inclusion zones,” where the offender
ened. Calls are usually brief, lasting less than a       should be at a certain time (such as home or work),
minute. If the offender does not answer a call, the      and “exclusion zones” or “hot zones,” where the
system calls back.                                       offender is not allowed (such as near the home of a
                                                         person the offender abused in a domestic violence
Some voice verification systems also allow offenders
                                                         incident).
to carry a pager that flashes an 800 number to call
immediately. This type of system offers a number         GPS technology holds significant potential for
of benefits. The caller’s voice is analyzed to verify    curbing domestic violence. In an EMP using GPS, a
identity, and the number of the telephone the caller     victim receives a pager and cell phone and at times
is using is captured. If the caller is scheduled to be   a receiver in the home. The offender is required
at home during call-in time and the telephone num-       to wear the GPS transmitter and receiver. Zones
ber does not match the home number, the case             around the victim’s residence, school, and work
officer is notified within minutes. Other benefits of    area are established. If the offender violates one of
the pager system include the following:                  the zones, the victim is notified by pager that the
                                                         offender is in the area. The victim then can use
s   The pager is unobtrusive, so it will not bring
                                                         the cell phone to call 911 for assistance.
    attention to the offender in public.
s   It does not have to be installed in the offender’s   Despite the benefits of GPS, the price is high, aver-
    home.                                                aging $30 to $40 a day. Furthermore, the monitor-
s   The monitoring area is not limited by distance       ing equipment is currently rather large (waistpack or
    from an electronic monitoring unit.                  backpack size) and the battery is heavy (at least
                                                         5 pounds) and needs recharging daily. Because of
Voice messaging capabilities are also available.         the size of the equipment, it is more vulnerable to
They allow a case officer to leave messages for one      damage during everyday use than a small bracelet
or multiple offenders to tell them about trial dates,    transmitter, prompting the question of whether the
drug tests, or other important information. The          offender should be financially responsible for the
offenders will receive the messages before they can      damages. Even if the damage is the offender’s fault,
submit their next voice verifications, ensuring they     the offender simply may not have the funds to pay
receive the information the case officer is sending.     for fixing the damage or replacing the unit—and
                                                         replacement costs may run into thousands of
Most EMPs use voice verification in conjunction
                                                         dollars.
with, and directly before, the alcohol test. This
essentially guarantees that the offender is the          With the assistance of the National Institute of
person actually taking the test. Some EMPs allow         Justice’s (NIJ’s) Office of Science and Technology
the officer to call an 800 number to listen to a         (OS&T), the Electronic Monitoring of Domestic
recording of the offender’s voice verification test.     Violence Committee has recently been established.
                                                         It is a national committee exploring the use of two
Emerging Technology                                      separate EM systems (neither of which use GPS)
                                                         and their application to domestic violence.
The global positioning system (GPS), a worldwide
navigational tool developed and used by the U.S.         Sandia National Laboratories, through an NIJ grant
Department of Defense, offers a new realm of             to the American Probation and Parole Association,
opportunities for electronic monitoring. In the GPS,     is beginning a process of conducting technical eval-
satellites are used to triangulate a reference point     uations of all types of probation and parole EM
and transmit the exact location of an object (such       equipment, including those types that use GPS.
as an offender bracelet) in “real time.” The most        Sandia developed a test protocol and is sending it
important benefit of this type of monitoring is accu-    to manufacturers for comments. In addition, Sandia
rate, 24-hour monitoring of whether the offender is      researchers are exploring what user issues need to
home or not. Authorities can trace an offender’s         be addressed. For example, they are riding along


                                                                                                                 5
    with probation and parole officers to understand              or rent the host computer and software systems.
    their needs while they are performing their day-to-           Some EM companies provide, free of charge, the
    day duties. Over the course of the year, Sandia will          computer and software systems necessary to link
    evaluate equipment provided by manufacturers. The             to an EM monitoring center.
    goal is to produce a written report by the end of the     s   How equipment will be used: Agencies should
    calendar year.                                                determine what their goals are for EM, then
                                                                  choose options best suited to meet those goals.
    Violation Notification                                        If an agency wants to make a special effort to
                                                                  monitor domestic offenders, for example, it
    For an EMP to be effective, offenders must follow a
                                                                  should examine equipment options that alert
    set of predetermined rules. If offenders violate those
                                                                  victims of those offenders.
    rules, EM companies notify case officers of the
                                                              s   How equipment must be maintained: Specifica-
    violations, which may include:
                                                                  tions on equipment maintenance should be
    s   Tampering with equipment (such as the                     clearly spelled out, including the type of mainte-
        transmitter or HMD).                                      nance, a maintenance schedule, and a list of
    s   Unauthorized absence from the residence.                  companies that provide maintenance services.
    s   Other deviations from the predetermined sched-        Before making a purchase, agencies should require
        ule, including failure to be at work during sched-    an onsite equipment demonstration. None of the
        uled work hours.                                      electronic monitoring equipment should require
    s   Positive breath alcohol content.                      numerous tools or components. The EM company
    s   Failure to return or leave the residence at the       should provide the EMP agency with several onsite
        scheduled time.                                       training sessions to ensure proper installation and
    s                                                         problem-solving strategies.
        Loss of power to equipment, an excessive num-
        ber of busy signals on the telephone line, and/or
        loss of telephone service.
                                                              Ensuring Public Safety
                                                              When considering the establishment of an EMP,
    Termination From the Program                              agencies should be aware of the risks of placing
                                                              an offender in the community. Public safety is the
    Jurisdictions may terminate offenders from the pro-
                                                              primary concern. EMPs should have:
    gram for a variety of events, including the following:
                                                              s   A strict 24-hour monitoring service to enable
    s   Tampering with the equipment.
                                                                  officers to respond to violations, via pager
    s   Possession or consumption of drugs or alcohol.
                                                                  notification or fax, within a few minutes.
    s   Refusing a car, residence, or personal search.        s   Immediate and severe sanctions for offenders
    s   Refusing to take a urine or alcohol test.                 who break the rules or regulations that the EMP
    s   Refusing or inability to pay for the program.             has set forth—especially tampering with the
    s   Termination of housing conducive to rehabilitation.       equipment.
                                                              s   An agreement with the local authorities to
    s   Termination from work for cause.
                                                                  respond immediately if an emergency situation
    s   Unauthorized absence.
                                                                  develops.
    s   Commission of additional crimes.                      s   An orientation program for the offender as well
                                                                  as all appropriate individuals with whom he or
    Setting Up an EMP                                             she resides. This program should detail the rules
    When corrections agencies are determining whether             and regulations of the program.
    to set up an electronic monitoring program, they          s   A system of onsite verification.
    need to make a number of important decisions, as
                                                              With these safeguards in place, the EMP agency
    described below:
                                                              stands a much greater chance of having a safe,
    s   Whether to buy or lease equipment: Most EM            effective electronic monitoring program.
        companies allow agencies running EMPs to lease


6
To Comment or for Further                                  field monitoring device: A portable unit that
Information:                                               verifies the presence of an offender in the commu-
                                                           nity by locating a specific transmitter within a
NIJ’s National Law Enforcement and Corrections             certain radius of the unit.
Technology Center (NLECTC) maintains a data-
base that identifies manufacturers of electronic           global positioning system: A collection of satel-
monitoring systems and other law enforcement,              lites that provide round-the-clock, worldwide posi-
corrections, and criminal justice products. The            tioning and navigation information. GPS can be
manufacturer and product database is available             used to determine the exact location of a receiver,
through the NLECTC World Wide Web site at                  how fast it is moving, and in what direction.
www.nlectc.org.
                                                           home monitoring device: A device that monitors
For additional information or comments, please             an offender’s transmitter while the offender is
call NLECTC at 800–248–2742, or write to                   home. The HMD uses an offender’s telephone line
P.O. Box 1160, Rockville, MD 20849–1160.                   and a normal power outlet to relay messages about
                                                           an offender to a computer monitoring center.
Definitions                                                house arrest through electronic monitoring:
active electronic monitoring: Monitoring using             A practice that requires a person to wear an elec-
a bracelet or other transmitter worn by the of-            tronic transmitter that sends a signal to a monitor
fender, emitting a continuous signal to the home           in his or her home. The monitor tracks whether the
monitoring device or other monitoring equipment.           person is home or out of the house, and transmits
If the offender moves out of range, the monitoring         that information to a computer center.
unit alerts the monitoring center of the violation.
                                                           monitoring center: The center at the EM com-
alcohol testing device: A piece of equipment               pany that centrally controls all of the offender
that attaches to an offender’s telephone and that,         monitoring information. Monitoring specialists are
when the offender calls or receives a call from the        available 24 hours a day to relay information and
monitoring center, provides information on                 violations to a department or officer via page,
whether the offender has been using alcohol.               phone, or fax.

electronic monitoring: A supervision tool that             passive electronic monitoring: Monitoring that
provides information about the offender’s presence         requires an offender to answer a phone and speak
at, or absence from, his or her residence or other         to an officer or insert a bracelet or other transmit-
location. Two categories of equipment are used:            ter into the HMD to verify presence.
active monitoring (continuous signaling) and passive       voice verification: A type of system that deter-
monitoring (programmed contact).
                                                           mines whether an offender’s voice during a tele-
electronic monitoring program: The program                 phone check matches the electronic voiceprint
established by a jurisdiction whereby an offender          given during enrollment in the program.
is monitored with the assistance of electronic
equipment.



    The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center is supported by Cooperative
    Agreement #96–MU–MU–K011 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of
    Justice. Analyses of test results do not represent product approval or endorsement by the National
    Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice; the National Institute of Standards and Technology,
    U.S. Department of Commerce; or Aspen Systems Corporation.
    The National Institute of Justice is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes
    the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Office of Juvenile Justice and
    Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime.



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Description: Monitoring equipment is also monitoring system of common equipment.