Examining GPS monitoring alerts triggered by sex offenders: The divergence of legislative goals and practical application in community corrections

Gaylene S. Armstrong, Beth C. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Legislative mandates that require GPS monitoring of offenders add to the existing logistical complexities of community supervision. Challenges in implementing GPS policies and practices are heightened by the lack of sound empirical research. Studies examining the relationships between GPS monitoring of sex offenders in the community and the legislative goals of public safety, deterrence, and cost effectiveness are virtually nonexistent. To begin to address this gap in the literature, this study examines the impact of a statutorily-based GPS monitoring program for adult sex offenders convicted of dangerous crimes against children and placed under community supervision. Method: Official offender generated alert data for DCAC Sex Offenders in Maricopa County, AZ are examined from the time of legislative mandate for a subsequent two year period. Results: Analyses highlight the significant number of equipment related alerts triggered by a loss of satellite signal for offenders under GPS monitoring as a key concern as well as a significant increase in officer workload as a result. Conclusions: A divergence between legislative goals and practical application of mandated GPS monitoring programs exists. GPS technology is far more limited than anticipated and should be viewed as a tool rather than depended upon as a control mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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