GPS Tracker For Prisoners
The Global Positioning System (GPS) has a large presence in the American prison system. In more than half of the states in the U.S., active GPS tracking and monitoring devices are being used to keep tabs on criminals, while they are out on probation or ordered to home incarceration.
The most commonly used GPS monitoring device is the GPS tracking bracelet. These bracelets (actually worn on the ankle) use a combination of GPS satellite signals and built-in GSM /GPRS (signals over a digital cellular network) to report to police or parole officers. The real time GPS tracking bracelet is a lightweight unit that communicates with a separate box called a personal transmitter unit (PTU). The PTU must be carried on the offender’s person, on a shoulder strap, or around the waist. Some models have a transmitter that can sit on a tabletop. If the communication between devices is interrupted, an alert goes out. The prisoner and the authorities get messages and alert tones. Triggering an alarm can be a serious offense for any prisoner released from jail, and can result in the individual being sent back to a detention center. The prisoner is also responsible for keeping the batteries charged, which must be done once or twice a day.
Ankle monitors and monitor programs for people released from jail are not a new idea, only the GPS tracking aspect of it. Earlier ankle bracelet systems ran off of radio frequency where location data could be highly inaccurate. When electronic monitors are inaccurate it can be a problem for the justice system that is designed to protect people from a sex offender or any person on house arrest. These radio frequency GPS bracelet options were less efficient because all they could do was alert an officer or probation officer when the prisoner moved out of range of the base unit.
Real time GPS trackers have the added benefit of location services. Not only will authorities know that a tracking violation has occurred, but they’ll also know where the prisoner is. GPS locators, similar to vehicle tracking devices, will permit closer monitoring by the courts and a little bit more leeway for the prisoner, perhaps to travel to work or court, because much more detail is being kept of his travels.
Many types of research and studies have proven that personal tracking devices are a good way to check on offenders and see if they are following the terms of their probation or release. Some prisoners are not on the home arrest but on restricted travel. Parole officers and probation officers can utilize a feature called geo-fencing that will alert law enforcement if a prison leaves a pre-set GPS location. Virtual geographic “safe zones” can be set up in the prisoner’s domain. These can be places like work, church, college, court, or attorney’s office. As soon as the convict goes out of the defined area or the confinement area, the bracelet will instantly send a signal to the police department.
Anklet GPS Cheaper Than Prison
Economically also, a person GPS tracker is a benefit to the government. It is much cheaper to track a convict’s location through this technique rather than holding him or her in a prison detention center. Housing a prisoner costs about $150 a day. Monitoring that same prisoner at home with an ankle bracelet costs about $10 a day.
GPS devices with ankle bracelets are seen as a possible solution to our overcrowded prisons. Physical and mental health specialists believe that overcrowded prisons lead to high tension, the propensity to violence, and poor medical care.
Critics Of GPS Tracking For Arrest
Of course, there are critics of this solution. Many point to sensational reports of crimes that were committed by prisoners on GPS home monitoring systems. Criminals have defiantly removed their GPS bracelets. They immerse the device in water, fail to charge it or sabotage the tracking ability by placing aluminum foil over the receiver.
Prison is dangerous, crowded, and expensive. It’s hard to argue with a GPS tracking solution that makes economic sense. GPS tracking bracelets give prisoners the opportunity to have improved life, to do chores, take up a hobby or perhaps start going to college. But do criminals of any sort deserve privileges beyond the barbed wire?
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.