Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

GPS monitoring of sex offenders should be used as tool, not control mechanism, researchers find

Date:
August 8, 2011
Source:
Sam Houston State University
Summary:
The use of GPS technology to monitor sex offenders should be viewed as a tool rather than a control mechanism, a team of researchers found in a recent study.

The use of GPS technology to monitor sex offenders should be viewed as a tool rather than a control mechanism, a team of researchers at Sam Houston State University found in a recent study.

In "Examining GPS Monitoring Alerts Triggered by Sex Offenders: The Divergence of Legislative Goals and Practical Applications in Community Corrections," Dr. Gaylene Armstrong and Beth Freeman examined the affects of a state law in Arizona that required the lifelong GPS monitoring of adult sex offenders convicted of dangerous crimes against children and placed on community supervision. The study monitored sex offenders in Maricopa County, AZ over a two-year period.

"A divergence between legislative goals and practical application of mandated GPS monitoring programs exists," said Dr. Armstrong, Research Director of the Correctional Management Institute of Texas at the College of Criminal Justice. "GPS technology is far more limited than anticipated and should be viewed as a tool rather than depended upon as a control mechanism."

The study found that a significant number of equipment-related alerts were triggered by a loss of a satellite signal, rather than offender violations. Those alerts resulted in a significant increase in the workload of probation officers.

"While it is expected that GPS technology provides the capability for near real-time tracking of an offender's location and movement in the community and that alerts would primarily indicate non-compliance with geographical and temporal restrictions, findings demonstrated that the responses to non-violation alerts consumed an inordinate amount of an agency's resources -- resources that could be better directed to other case management activities," the study found.

A secondary impact is the possibility of complacency by probation officers because of an overload of non-violation alerts, which may result in a failure to act and liability for offender actions, the report concluded.

The cost effectiveness of GPS monitoring should be considered when setting budget for technology and vendors, especially considering the workload required to implement and maintain the system. If lifelong monitoring is mandated, the number of cases will continue to grow, the study said.

Community corrections supervisors estimate that 70 percent of alerts are false alarms and are usually related to technology issues. Steps should be taken to reduce the likelihood of unintentional alarms. Probation officers also should be trained on the use of the GPS system, and written rules and policies should be implemented, the report said.

"Results demonstrated a clear difference between legislative perceptions of the level of technological advancement of GPS equipment and its actual readiness for broad based roll out in community corrections settings at this time," said the study. "Moreover, it appears from these results that GPS technology is currently too underdeveloped to recommend continued swift enactment of legislation mandating implementation and utilization of GPS in a cost-effective manner."

The study was published in the Journal of Criminal Justice.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sam Houston State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gaylene S. Armstrong, Beth C. Freeman. Examining GPS monitoring alerts triggered by sex offenders: The divergence of legislative goals and practical application in community corrections. Journal of Criminal Justice, 2011; 39 (2): 175 DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2011.01.006

Cite This Page:

Sam Houston State University. "GPS monitoring of sex offenders should be used as tool, not control mechanism, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808152417.htm>.
Sam Houston State University. (2011, August 8). GPS monitoring of sex offenders should be used as tool, not control mechanism, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808152417.htm
Sam Houston State University. "GPS monitoring of sex offenders should be used as tool, not control mechanism, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808152417.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins