Monthly Archives: June 2014

WA legislators fail to pass GPS monitoring reforms

gps monitoring If a criminal cuts off a GPS monitoring bracelet, you might think it’s the equivalent of a jail break.

But Washington law doesn’t see it that way.

Across the state there is a patchwork of rules and regulations covering electronic home monitoring and GPS tracking of criminals. Some county courts may have strict rules governing violations while others may not.

“The big problem we’re seeing with electronic home monitoring is with a lack of standards across the board,” said state Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley).

Last week, a bill sponsored by Sheafailed to make it to a vote in the state Senate. It would have set minimum statewide requirements for public and private entities that provide electronic monitoring of offenders, primarily for city and county courts.

“We can no longer allow people that are sentenced on electronic home monitoring to skirt the system, which is what is happening,” said Shea.

Last month, a KING 5 investigation profiled a 25-year-old Pierce County man who snapped off the GPS ankle bracelet that was supposed to ensure his home detention. The breach went unnoticed for nearly two weeks by the Fife Municipal Court, which runs the program that was supposed to be monitoring the misdemeanor offender.

“I’m not a tagged animal,” the man told KING 5.

Judge Kevin Ringus said the court is investigating the case.

KING 5 also revealed that the sex offender who stole the Victoria Clipper ferry from Seattle’s waterfront last December had cut off his GPS tracking bracelet four times. Records show Samuel McDonough routinely cut it off, or let the battery die, on Fridays. He may have known that the Washington Department of Corrections only monitors its tracking software on business days – not weekends and holidays.

“We expect these criminals to be monitored 24/7. That’s what the expectation of the public is,” said Shea.

Shea said he proposed electronic home monitoring legislation last year after a report by the Freedom Foundation of Washingtondocumented the lack of controls in many communities.

At a hearing in Olympia earlier this year, witnesses testified about concerns over the growing number of for-profit, private companies that are providing monitoring services for the courts, even though those companies may not be fully vetted.

“It doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t set enough standards,” Steve Hopkins of Stay Home Monitoring in Aberdeen said of Shea’s bill.

As the owner of Washington’s oldest electronic monitoring company, Hopkins said he’s seen unethical and fly-by-night companies swarm into the industry. He thinks Shea’s bill should have more teeth to ferret out the bad players.

“I feel the bill was actually rushed. I don’t feel it’s ready for prime time,” Hopkins told a House committee.

A spokesman said Shea plans to reintroduce his GPS legislation next year.


Source: =

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Indigent offenders driving up cost of county’s electronic monitoring program

A growing number of McLennan County inmates are on electronic monitoring in lieu of going to jail, but the increase means the county is incurring more expenses for indigent offenders who cannot afford to pay for the program.

There now are 65 county inmates on electronic monitoring, the highest number of offenders who have been on the program at one time, according to Ronnie Marroquin, manager of the Waco branch of Recovery Healthcare, which administers the program.

 electronic monitoring The county typically has had about 40 offenders enrolled in the initiative at one time, County Judge Scott Felton said.

The county began the electronic monitoring program in October 2012 as an alternative to jail in an effort to lower the county’s jail population and its costs of housing inmates.

But a significant number of those inmates are indigent, meaning the county has to pick up the cost of their daily ankle monitor service.

Of the 65 on the program, 31 are deemed indigent and the county pays between $7 and $7.50 per day for them to remain on electronic monitoring.

Extra $30,000

The McLennan County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved allocating an additional $30,000 to the program to cover projected costs for indigent offenders through the remaining four months of the county’s fiscal year.

But Felton said the additional costs for the program are more than offset by savings the county receives from not having to house those offenders at the county jail.

“In one way it’s bad news that we have to put more money in there (for electronic monitoring), but the alternative is if the indigent weren’t on the ankle monitoring program they’d be in our jail,” Felton said. “So us subsidizing the ankle monitoring to the vendor is really, in a way, good news.”

The current budget for the program is $49,934, and all but $3,422 has been spent so far, according to figures from the county auditor’s office.

The county spent $61,912 on the program for the 2013 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

The daily cost for housing an inmate at the county jail is about $50, while the county pays $45.50 per day for each inmate placed at the neighboring Jack Harwell Detention Center, which is managed by private jail company LaSalle Corrections.

The county had about 1,173 inmates Tuesday, including 247 who were at the Harwell Center, said sheriff’s office Capt. John Kolinek, who oversees the jail. Felton said the jail population has been as high as 1,300.

The county spent $5.1 million to house overflow inmates jail last year, $1.3 million more than budgeted, because of overcrowding at the county jail.

Electronic monitoring is only available for low-risk, nonviolent misdemeanor offenders and is given to inmates at judges’ discretion. Inmates who do not qualify for indigent status pay the costs of their own electronic monitoring service, which ranges from $8 to $8.50 per day.

Felton said he expects the number of people on the program will continue to grow as judges become more comfortable using the service as an alternative sentencing option.

“I think the results show that we’re saving money for the taxpayers, yet keeping them safe as well,” Felton said.


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Dead batteries in electronic-monitoring bracelets meant offenders went undetected: Northwest courts roundup

electronic monitoring The city of Fife is dealing with an embarrassing goof: City employees weren’t able to tell when the batteries on electronic-monitoring bracelets worn by offenders ran out of power.

KING 5 TV investigators reported that one Pierce County man, sentenced to home detention for theft, was able to slip off his bracelet undetected because the batteries were dead.

Fife Municipal Judge Kevin Ringus said “We have to do a better job of staying on top of that.”

In other court news from across the Northwest:

A man has pleaded guilty to trying to blow up the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office in Medford in hopes of delaying his sentencing in a burglary case.

Alan Leroy McVay admitted he taped a pipe bomb to a propane tank and threw it at a window last November. Prosecutors are recommending 15 years in prison — five times the amount of time he faced in the burglary case.

The Statesman-Journal reports that a Polk County sheriff’s deputy has been placed on paid leave as authorities investigate criminal allegations of theft and official misconduct. No specific details were available about what deputy Josh Williams, 41, is alleged to have done.

17-year-old who plotted last year to blow up West Albany High School admitted his guilt in juvenile court, and was sent to the Oregon Youth Authority, which can hold him until his 25th birthday.

Author:  Aimee Green


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Sheriff Seeks to Begin Electronic Monitoring Program

electronic monitoring, gps tracking, house arrestMARION COUNTY- One North Central Florida sheriff is looking to release some inmates back into society and monitor them electronically.  For months we’ve heard Sheriff Chris Blair talk about how his agency is in need of more corrections officers at the jail since the jail is currently overcrowded. He said there’s not enough funding in the budget to hire more staff, so he is coming up with other solutions.

Over 1400 inmates live here at the Marion County Jail. Right now the jail is over capacity by nearly 360 inmates and short about 60 correction officers, according to Sheriff Blair. He is asking county commissioners to bring together the local public safety coordinating council, which hasn’t met since 2002. Blair would work with the panel in creating new programs.

“I wanted to look at a program to put monitors on those offenders that are actually taken into custody for a domestic violence issue or issued injunctions on domestic violence issues. So at that point we can monitor activity, so that if they come in contact in the area of the victim, we would be notified along with that victim,” said Blair.

Blair said this program would also take pressure of his correction officers.

“If they are going to contact the person who was abused and say so and so was in your vicinity then yes i can understand that,” said Marion County resident Heather Couch.

But other residents believe those who are charged with violent crimes should stay behind bars.

“I have children and grandchildren and people who commit bodily harms to others, I think is completely wrong. That’s why they are in there,” said Marion County resident Lee Davis.

Sheriff Blair said he’d be selective with the type of inmates they let out, but a judge would make the final decision.

“We are releasing people every day right now they have no supervision. They are capable of committing or re offending. So this is a way I am trying to protect other victims from becoming additional victims,” said Blair.

He hopes the board convenes the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council soon. Today I reached out to the commissioners, but they have been all in meetings and have yet to get back to me.

Author: Local News


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Mayor of Venice Under House Arrest in Corruption Probe

electronic monitoring, gps tracking, house arrest Mayor Giorgio Orsoni has been put under house arrest for allegedly receiving illicit funds for his 2010 mayoral election campaign from companies involved in a flood barrier project in Venice. Associated Press

MILAN—Italian police issued an arrest warrant for the mayor of Venice and 34 other politicians, entrepreneurs and officials on Wednesday as part of a corruption investigation linked to the construction of a flood barrier, in the latest of a string of high-profile corruption probes in Italy.

Mayor Giorgio Orsoni was put under house arrest for allegedly receiving illicit funds for his 2010 mayoral election campaign from companies involved in the vast municipal engineering project, Venice prosecutor Carlo Nordio said.

Prosecutors haven’t indicted Mr. Orsoni, but said they placed him under house arrest as a precautionary measure. Lawyers for Mr. Orsoni said the accusations “lack credibility” and they hope for a swift clarification of the mayor’s legal status.

Prosecutors have placed a number of other politicians under arrest as part of the same investigation into alleged illicit party financing stemming from the flood-barrier project, as well as several businessmen who are suspected of corruption aimed at winning tenders. Nobody has been charged.

Construction of the flood barrier, known as “Mose,” was started in 2003 and it is supposed to be completed in 2016. It involves the building of 78 large flood barriers anchored to the sea bed where Venice’s lagoon meets the Adriatic. When work on the barrier was started in May 2004, officials said it would cost €2.3 billion ($3.13 billion), but the bill has spiraled to more than €3 billion.

electronic monitoring, gps tracking, house arrest

he huge “Mose” project involves the building of 78 large flood barriers anchored to the sea bed where Venice’s lagoon meets the Adriatic. Associated Press

According to prosecutors, the suspected illicit financing and bribes allegedly come from false invoicing by some of the companies involved in the Mose project.

Prosecutors say they also plan to put Giancarlo Galan, the former governor of Venice and a member of Italy’s Parliament, under arrest. But according to Italian law, Parliament has to authorize the arrest with a vote before prosecutors can proceed. Mr. Galan said he denies the accusations and that he would like to be heard by magistrates as soon as possible, “certain to be able to provide clear evidence” of his innocence.

The arrests underscore Italy’s difficulty in shaking off its long-standing corruption problem 20 years after the huge 1990s Clean Hands corruption scandals swept away an entire political class and promised a sea change.

In May, prosecutors ordered the arrest of a top executive involved in Expo, the world’s fair planned for next year in Milan, dealing a blow to a project that has been a point of pride and a potential source of new jobs for the city after several years of economic distress.

One of its top executives, Angelo Paris, was arrested, along with several former politicians, on suspicion of using influence to sway the outcome of public tenders in return for high-profile jobs or other favors.

The prosecutors haven’t indicted Mr. Paris or the others. When questioned by prosecutors, Mr. Paris admitted part of the allegations, a person close to the proceeding said. Lawyers for Mr. Paris, who remains under arrest, declined to comment.

Following the arrests, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi formed an anti-corruption task force to prevent wrongdoing at the Expo project, while its organizers set up new measures aimed at preventing corruption in the tendering process.

The investigations highlight the suspected persistence of corruption in Italy, where the underground economy makes up a fifth of the economy and where 97% of the population believes corruption is widespread, according to a recent European Union study. The Italian Court of Audit said that the total direct cost of corruption to the country amounted to €60 billion each year—or 4% of gross domestic product.

According to a report by Transparency International, which monitors corporate and political corruption, Italy ranks 69th out of 177 countries in terms of corruption perception in the public sector, on a par with Kuwait and far below Germany or the U.S. Corruption in Italy has been a major deterrent to foreign investment, which has fallen sharply in recent years because of the economic crisis.

“Corruption has a toxic impact on the legal economy,” said Donato Masciandaro, a professor of financial regulation at Bocconi University in Milan. “The more the country is affected by such toxic effect, the more unlikely investment from abroad will come.”

Despite an anticorruption law in November 2012, which represented “a significant step forward in the fight against corruption in Italy…corruption remains a serious challenge,” according to the EU study.



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The Evolution Of Electronic Monitoring Devices

electronic monitoring

In this photo from the mid-1960s, Kirk Gable, a co-founder of the electronic monitoring belt, uses war surplus missile-tracking equipment to track young adult offenders who are wearing the first electronic monitoring devices. Courtesy of Robert Gable

Nearly 50 years since it was first designed by social psychology students at Harvard, the electronic monitoring device has become a significant part of the criminal justice system. More popularly associated with law-breaking celebrities like Paris Hilton or Martha Stewart, the electronic ankle bracelet has been used to track hundreds of thousands of sex offenders, DUI offenders, people free on bail and others.

But its current use is not quite what its inventors had in mind.

In the 1960s, twin brothers Robert and Kirk Gable were studying psychology at Harvard under famed psychologists B.F. Skinner and Timothy Leary. They wanted to develop a way to monitor the movements of juvenile offenders so they could encourage them to show up to places on time. It would be a form of positive reinforcement. Using old military equipment, they created a system in which offenders would wear radio devices that communicated where they were.

“The purpose, though, was to give rewards to the offenders when they were where they were supposed to be, that is they were in drug treatment session, or went to school or a job,” says Robert Gable, now 80 and living in Berkeley, Calif. “And then we would signal them that they were eligible for a reward.”

The rewards were simple — a free haircut, pizza, concert tickets — all to inspire the offenders to behave better.

Today, that’s not commonly how the court system uses the technology. With overcrowded jails and the high cost of incarceration, many states have turned to electronic monitors as a cost-effective way to send people home and free up jail space.

Ann Toyer of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections explains that electronic monitoring not only saves the department money, but it can also be good for the offenders.

“We get them back into the community where they can work, they pay taxes, they have access to community services,” Toyer says. “If we can get them back into the community, get them working, they can pay for those services.”

The technology behind the devices continues to evolve. Where once it just used radio signals to detect whether someone was home, now many devices use GPS and cell tower signals to give precise locations. Monitors for DUI offenders can detect blood-alcohol levels through a person’s sweat.

However, the system can have flaws. Devices can send false alerts. Sometimes, they send so many alerts that officers can’t carefully look into all of them. In Denver last year, a man allegedly tore off his device, drove to the home of the state corrections chief and killed him. Police were alerted when the offender removed the device, but it took them days to respond.

The National Institute of Justice is developing standards for electronic monitor manufacturers so officers only receive the most important alerts.

Also, some agencies are finding new ways to use the technology. For example, some police departments are using it to investigate whether an offender was at a crime scene after a crime has occurred.

And researchers hope electronic monitoring can even predict if someone is about to commit a crime before they actually do.

May Yuan, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, is using a federal grant to develop software that logs offenders’ movements throughout the day. By doing so, she and her team can trace a pattern in someone’s habits and detect suspicious behavior.

For example, the system would know if a convicted burglar has been circling a particular block each day at the same time. G2 Research, a Canada-based company, already has similar software on the market.

“Ultimately, we are hoping that our tools will help the parole officer to stop any potential crime committed by those offenders again,” Yuan says.

A study in Florida found that the use of electronic monitoring reduced the rate of repeat offenses by 31 percent. Proponents say new developments show how useful electronic monitoring can be — it can reduce or prevent crime.

The inventor of the original technology, Robert Gable, finds the evolution of the device promising, but he remains wary of its current use. Still, Gable says he hopes electronic monitoring can be steered back to his original intent.

“What really changes behavior are motivational factors, such as fun and adventure and pride and accomplishment, recognition, affection,” Gable says. “Unfortunately, electronic technology has gone to punishment instead of the use of positive reinforcement.”



Your one stop for gps tracking needs, contact an experienced GPS Monitoring Specialist to assist you with any GPS situtation.