California has come up with a viable solution. The state has decided to hire a private company to take over some of the work. The Department of Corrections is hiring the companies that provide the GPS tracking
systems to also monitor and screen the alerts. They will send only the high priority problems to parole officers.
The problem is, according to a recent AP report, parole agents spend 44% of their time reviewing GPS tracking alerts. That compares to only 12% of their time out in the field, which is where they should be.
One of the challenges with monitoring parolees with GPS tracking systems is that the devices often send out false alarms. For example, alerts can be triggered when the battery starts to get low or the GPS tracking device goes out of range… much like a cell phone, when you lose a signal.
Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, told Fox News, “When you have 24-7 screening of alerts… a parole agent can’t stay up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A monitoring center can.”
The CA Dept. of Corrections’ pilot program will start this summer. If it is successful, the program will be continued, as long as it makes financial sense.