GPS Tracking Device to Monitor Offenders on Probation

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By Greg Bartlett

GPS technology is quickly spreading around the country and is being used in various new ways. Over twenty states are now tracking criminals on probation using GPS technology. When criminal offenders are released from jail on probation, they are often monitored with a GPS tracking device in the form of an ankle bracelet. This device allows the criminal offender to be tracked around the clock to make sure that the rules set down for the probation period are consistently followed.


The estimated number of criminals being tracked is 120,000 nationwide. These criminals are the least violent offenders and usually the ones with very short prison terms who would be the first to be released if the prison budget were suddenly cut. These systems are also very useful for tracking juvenile offenders. By monitoring juvenile offenders with a GPS tracking device, they can continue to go to school and work. These devices can also be programmed to inform the police if the offender is not in the correct place at the correct time.

For example, the GPS tracking device would send an alert if at 10:30 on a Monday morning the tracker was not on school property. It would go off again around 4 pm in the offender was not at work and again later in the evening when the offender was supposed to be at home for the night. These devices can also help probation officers keep juveniles away from gangs and other things that can get them into trouble with the law.

These tracking devices work in two ways. They allow the police to continue to keep track of offenders after they have served their jail terms. This adds a measure of protection to keep the offender from committing another crime. Although this tracking can cost as much as $4,300 a year per criminal, the citizens of this country would feel much safer knowing that released criminals were still being tracked for life.

However, the GPS tracking bracelets can also work to get criminals out of jails quicker. The 3 or 4 thousand dollars that it costs to track a criminal for a year is nothing when compared to the cost of keeping him in jail for that period of time. Prisons around the country are overflowing and the budgets of these prisons are being stretched to the limit. Many of them may see a GPS tracking device as a good alternative to free up space, not only in the jails but in their budget as well. No one wants to raise taxes in order to fund city jails. This makes the use of new GPS tracking bracelets look like a promising money-saving idea.

Although a GPS tracking device is a great way to monitor a criminal, people need to be careful not to overuse this new technology. This technology could easily allow for more dangerous criminals to roam relatively free while putting people in an “electronic jail” who have not done anything serious enough to be sent to prison.

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3 thoughts on “GPS Tracking Device to Monitor Offenders on Probation

  1. This is an area that is not within our expertise. It sounds like you have a legitimate concern with your privacy issues with the land line phone. A call to a local attorney’s office might be able to provide a better answer for you as local and state laws differ vastly. If you are noticing something is not right, your instincts might be correct! Wish we could give you more guidance, but we really do not know about this particular area. Thank you for your thoughts today on the blog! – admin.

  2. Why are so many people complaining about feeling that their land line phones are tappped when used to monitor the activity of their family members who are on probation? Many of whom say that voices and or tv programs are being heard over their phones. I’ve personally heard voices, sounds and other noises that do not originate from the person being spoken to or from my end of the phone line. Can the monitoring system be inadvertently or deliberately used to hear conversations intended to be private? Enabling others to hear privileged conversation or hearing conversation not desired being heard from strangers,without any control over it because of the use of the system. What can be done about it?

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