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.

Source: http://www.wacotrib.com/

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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

Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/

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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

Source: www.wcjb.com

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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.

Author: MANUELA MESCO

Source: www.online.wsj.com

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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.”

Author: EMMA ANDERSON

Source: www.npr.org

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

A GPS DEVICE PURCHASED FROM RMT RECOVERS STOLEN VEHICLE

Rocky Mountain Tracking does its best to educate readers of the various uses and applications of GPS tracking devices. One of our customers purchased a tracking devicefor their steam cleaning business, in order to better manage time and gasoline. As it turns out, the tracking device was able to locate and recover a company cleaning van after it was stolen. Santa Barbara Steam Cleaning equipped their cleaning vans with GPStracking devices in order to more efficiently manage their fleet. While visiting one of their clients, an employee of Santa Barbara Steam Cleaning unwisely left the vehicle running outside with a dog inside. Perhaps he wrongly thought that the dog would be enough to deter a thief. By the time the employee walked back outside, the vehicle had been stolen.

 

Thanks to the Informer Lite GPS tracking devices obtained here at Rocky Mountain Tracking, Santa Barbara Steam Cleaning was able to track the location of the van. “Being able to track the vehicle at all times is what helped us recover it,” said Andrew Gudgeon, manager of Santa Barbara Steam Cleaning. Tamara Gudgeon accessed the GPS data online and contacted police with the information immediately. Within a half hour, the police stopped the suspect near his home in Ventura, CA. Tamara added, “We were able to track our vehicle with the GPS and recovered it within a half hour.”

 

“A swift recovery is especially critical in a vehicle theft situation,” said our own Brad Borst, President of Rocky Mountain Tracking. “A delayed recovery increases the probability of damage to the vehicle and the risk of the vehicle never being recovered at all.” The dog was not found in the vehicle when police pulled it over, but was found shortly after sustaining minor injuries. According to the suspect, he threw the dog out of the vehicle, while driving on the freeway. He also claimed that his reasoning for stealing the vehicle was that he didn’t want to take the bus home.

Author: Marisa O’Connor

Source: www.rmtracking.com

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

GPS USED BY POLICE IN PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI TO TRACK SUSPECTS

Add Pittsfield Township, MI to the list of police forces realizing the easiest and most efficient way to track suspects in certain investigations is the GPS device. The Pittsfield Public Safety Department gained the approval needed to purchase GPS tracking devices to aid in investigations. The cost of the device, shipping, and associated costs requested from the Pittsfield Township Board who approved the funds shall not exceed $6,825.

 

A GPS device will give officers the chance to track a suspects whereabouts and activities by placing the device on their vehicle. The rest is as simple as tracking their movements in the hopes police can stop another crime from occurring.

 

Gordon Schick, Deputy Police Chief for the department feels it is an important tool in their investigative arsenal. “For us, GPS is like a polygraph machine or composite machine. Those tools that detectives need to find a suspect or maybe build evidence for a suspect. It’s just another tool that we have in the tool bag.”

 

During the board meeting, Trustee Gerald Krone inquired of Public Safety Director Matt Harshberger how exactly the GPS device would be used. The response: “It’s a tracking device we can put on a car.”

 

Let’s say the Investigative Unit is trying to keep tabs on suspected burglars. It is the hope of the department this device can help them stop a future crime in its tracks. According to Harshberger, “Try to maybe get them in the process of doing another crime. We can use that device, but that is what that is for. It has a data logger than can show their coordinates, so we can record it and document it.”

 

Trustee Gerald Krone thinks this is impressive technology, referring to the GPS device as “James Bond” like. “We put it on the car without them knowing about it?” Krone asked. Harshberger confirmed this, and Krone replied, “James Bond did that years ago” amidst laughter.

 

As required by federal law, police will require a search warrant prior to placing the tracking device. “For us, in order to have a search warrant, you have to have probable cause,” said Schick. “That’s an order by a judge. GPS is a very accurate way of building evidence.”

 

Team Intel of Stevensville, MI will be selling them the tracking device and data logger as the company has a history with the department, as well as the department’s commitment to support a Michigan-based business.

Author: Marisa O’Connor

Source: www.rmtracking.com

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

TRIBAL VILLAGES IN INDIA USE GPS DEVICES TO CLAIM LAND

Tribal families living within the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Narmada, and parts of The Dangs district are using GPS devices to officially claim land they’ve been living off of. Under the Forest Rights Act, a family may claim forest land if they have been using it since 2005. There are more than 5,000 tribal families living in the forests. A large portion of the crops cultivated by the villagers are used for sustenance, and by officially claiming the land under the Forest Rights Act, the Indian government will recognize the land as belonging to the locals.

 

“We carry these GPS devices, turn it on and ask the claimant to walk on the border of his fields,” explained a member of the local Forest Rights Committee (FRC) in Patholi Ganina village, Bamanjibhai Vasava. “The data is then super-imposed on satellite maps, and we can see which areas are being cultivated by people. These maps, names of claimants and other details are then submitted to the government as evidence that we have been cultivating these lands, so we can gain possession under the Forest Rights Act,” he continued.

 

Unfortunately, there have been some problems with the GPS devices while plotting land. “The GPS has to connect with a satellite, so when there are clouds, it does not work. We carry out surveys when there are no clouds,” explained Indrasinh Vasava, from the Signal Garan village. There also seem to be some logistical concerns about the verification process required by the Forest Rights Act. In order to claim land, the villagers must have been cultivating the land since 2005.

 

The Indian government is using maps developed by its own BISAG (Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics). Many are concerned that the satellite images used to verify their claims are not reliable. The technology was not as accurate back then, sometimes resulting in errors of 300 meters or more. As it turns out, the concerns were founded. 113,000 out of 156,000 of the claims were rejected, resulting in mass protests. Currently the verification process is under review, and some have suggested using Google Earth images as an alternative.

Author: Marisa O’Connor

Source: www.rmtracking.com

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

RAYTHEON: GPS OCX ITERATION 1.4 CRITICAL DESIGN REVIEW COMPLETE

Raytheon Company has announced the successful completion of software iteration 1.4 Critical Design Review (iCDR) for the Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System (GPS OCX). This displays the high level of maturity of the OCX design, showing it is ready to support GPS III launch readiness.

 

Software iteration 1.4 gives GPS IIIcommand and control capability it relies upon to support the first three launch exercises in preparation for the launch and checkout of the very first GPS III satellite.

 

“This is a major step forward for OCX that demonstrates we are on track to support GPS III launch. OCX will usher in a new era in precision space-based navigation and timing, consolidating GPS satelliteoperations in a single, efficient, and evolvable control system that is protected against current and future cyber threats,” said the GPS OCX program manager for Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems business, Ray Kolibaba.

 

GPS OCX development relies on a commercial best practice iterative software development process which gives improved flexibility and efficiency in the development of military satellite ground systems. An iterative approach means the ground system development process can be modified when the program’s needs change, such as schedule modifications and capability, independent from the development of the GPS III space vehicle.

 

After OCX Preliminary Design Review back in June 2011, CDR’s “waterfall” approach was tweaked for recognition of the iterative software development process. Iteration 1.4 iCDR is the preliminary test of this new CDR process, and shows that Raytheon and the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center have succeeded in fully integrating the commercial best practice through the process of acquisition.

 

GPS OCX offers command, control, and mission management for the GPS constellation: not only the new GPS III, but IIR-M and IIF as well. GPS III will offer protection against cyber threats in the future. OCX offers full navigation messaging on the new civilian signals, L2 and L5, as well as a special jam-proof military signal, M-Code. This gives users of every category worldwide new capabilities. OCX supports the L1C civilian signal on the new GPS III satellites, allowing interoperability with international GNSS like Galileo (Europe). OCX will give the user a high level of efficiency with lower maintenance fees, while at the same time being highly adaptable, able to evolve right alongside the GPS system.

Author: Khristen Foss

Source: www.rmtracking.com

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

AMBER ALERT GPS AND THE LITTLE GYM FORM PARTNERSHIP

Parents know that today’s world is much different that the one they grew up in. The days of roaming the neighborhood until the street lights come on are over, replaced with staying where mom and dad can make visual contact, or maybe carrying a cell phone when heading to the local park and traveling in groups. Luckily, there is another technological weapon in our arsenal aimed at keeping children safe while giving them a sense of indepence: a GPS device.

 

Amber Alert GPS makes a GPS trackingdevice specifically for children to carry, showing parents where their child is at any time. The Little Gym, a experiential learning and child development center for children age four months to 12 years boasting 300 worldwide locations, has announced a partnership with Amber Alert GPS to offer a discount for parents on the GPS device and subscription.

 

Through this partnership, The Little Gym is named exclusive category provider of the Amber Alert GPS tracking device and associated subscription. The device not only shows where your child is at all times on a map using your smartphone or home computer, it also offers an SOS button your child can press to alert you to any emergency. Does your child drive or travel with other parents to the soccer game while you are stuck in a meeting? The device will alert you if the vehicle your child is in exceeds the speed limit, or even if he or she is in a car when they should be walking. It also offers two-way communication, allowing you to drop your child from your cell phone plan altogether. Let’s face it: you bought the phone so they could call you when they needed, but they now call all of their friends all of the time, or text your bill into oblivion. Lastly, it alerts you when your child comes within 500 feet of the home of a registered sex offender.

 

“At The Little Gym, safety is very important to us. Our gym owners and instructors pride themselves on providing a safe environment for children to learn and grow. By aligning with Amber Alert GPS, one of the most well-known and respected child safety brands, The Little Gym is helping to give parents the confidence to let kids be kids,” Bob Bingham said, the President and CEO of The Little Gym.

 

Carol Colombo, CEO of Amber Alert GPS, said, “We at Amber Alert GPS are excited about partnering with an industry leader like The Little Gym to provide access to easy-to-use technology that helps make the world a safer place for our children while allowing them freedom and providing parents peace of mind.”

 

Friends of The Little Gym can take advantage of a $199 savings on the Amber Alert GPS device for free, with a three-year contract, and $20 activation fee waived. There is a link to this offer on the “Partners” page of  http://www.thelittlegym.com/.

Author: Khristen Foss

Source: www.rmtracking.com

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