A recent San Francisco Chronicle article described using GPS anklets to track former gang members on parole, expanding a program first used on paroled sex offenders.
The concept is great: if you know where parolees are, you can make sure they don’t violate parole restrictions (or catch them if they do). But the technology doesn’t always achieve the goal, for the simple reason that someone has to be tracking the anklets.
Technology can also help solve the problem. Standard data warehousing practices can tell authorities if someone violated parole yesterday, but having the information at the moment parole violations are occurring enables reacting quickly and decisively. In some cases, GPS time-&-location data can prevent crimes as well as aid in solving them after the fact.
Real time data analytics can do this by monitoring the information in real time and sending a page or other alert to parole officers as soon as a violation occurs. At SQLstream, we’ve been working with customers to monitor real-time data from such sensors, providing instant real-time reports and alerts against pre-determined boundaries of time or space.
It’s also a growing market across the globe. In one state in Germany, ankle bracelets for monitoring time or location boundaries assigned to offenders on probation appear effective, helping probationers stick to a regular schedule, among other benefits.
The business case for better technology is driven by the potential for huge cost savings. GPS anklet solutions cost only one-third what incarceration costs: about 33 euros per day versus about 100 euros for a day in jail (about $44 and $133, respectively). In California, using numbers from the Chronicle article and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, GPS ankle monitoring costs about $26 per day, while jail time averages about $133.
Such devices are also in use in other American communities, and German State justice ministers were scheduled to meet June 30th to discuss implementing the bracelets in other parts of Germany.
So it looks like GPS anklets for dangerous parolees may be here to stay, and with a step change in the supporting monitoring technology, true real-time analysis and reporting of exceptions and corrective action can be a reality.