States are increasingly using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to track parolees, says the Christian Science Monitor. Electronic bracelets, strapped to the ankle can track their every move. It alerts a parole officer if a convicted sex offender is near a school or if a drunk driver steps into a bar. Oklahoma may well be the next state to use this technology to keep prison populations and costs down.
Lee Kicker a sales manager for Pro-Tech, which contracts the technology, says, “Compared to a jail bed, it’s dramatically cheaper.” Florida’s Department of Corrections began using the technology in 1997; 32 states and 125 jurisdictions use it now. GPS costs an average of $5 a day compared with $50 a day in prison.
Oklahoma wants to send 800 offenders now on work release home with a GPS tracking device and move 800 inmates in prison to work release. “We’re not in favor of taking people out of prisons and putting them on GPS,” says Kicker, a former Dallas police officer. “But many people, like those on work release, can do just as well out on the street as they can in prison.”
In Florida, recidivism rates among sex offenders tracked by GPS have gone from around 50 percent to between 3 and 7 percent.