A young Massachusetts mother’s long nightmare began to subside soon after her abusive ex-husband was outfitted with a satellite monitoring device that would electronically warn authorities if he ever got too close to her, reports the Chicago Tribune. The woman can now drive her children to the store again without going 45 minutes out of her way to avoid him. She can leave her home without agonizing about whether it would be better to wear a wig, or whether she could reach a police station if she saw him following her. “Because he went on GPS, I got to go back to school,” said the woman, on the front line of an innovative Massachusetts program that uses GPS monitoring for those who violate orders of protection. “I got to raise two beautiful kids.”
The Illinois House yesterday passed legislation that would allow judges to order GPS monitoring for those who violate orders of protection. The proposal is modeled on Massachusetts, one of only a handful of states with experience using the high-tech system to track those accused of domestic violence. Approved more than a year ago, the Massachusetts monitoring system has proved most effective in the Newburyport area northeast of Boston, where experts say the results have been excellent. So far, none of the eight people outfitted with GPS there has violated protective orders, authorities say. The effort in Illinois was prompted by last month’s slaying of a real estate broker who was shot to death outside her office by a former boyfriend, who then turned the pistol on himself. The man was twice charged with violating her restraining order.