California will strap Global Positioning System anklets on 1,000 recently paroled gang members this year, hoping to keep them out of trouble by limiting their movements while gathering intelligence in case they return to their old habits, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The move expands the nation’s biggest GPS monitoring program of convicts, three years after voters required satellite tracking of more than 7,000 paroled sex offenders.
Critics of GPS monitoring contend that the technology has not been adequately studied in California to see if it cuts crime, lowers recidivism and justifies its cost: about $9,500 annually per parolee. The program will equip “the worst of the worst” recent parolees with GPS devices, replacing scattered pilot programs that have tracked as many as 160 gang members at a time. Fifty parole agents will handle caseloads of 20 gang members each.