Courts and police turning to GPS-enforced restraining orders

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Boston (MA) – GPS tracking bracelets are giving judges and police a new weapon to fight against abusive husbands and lovers.  In several states, these bracelets now give authorities real-time tracking of high-risk offenders and will alert police when a restraining order has been violated.  Studies show the bracelets have reduced repeat offenses, but not surprisingly the offenders went back to their criminal ways after the bracelets were taken off.

The bracelets are worn by domestic violence offenders who have active restraining orders put against them by fearful wives, girlfriends or children.  Authorities set up electronic “exclusion zones” around areas like the women’s homes, schools and even victim shelters.  The theory is that police will immediately descend on the criminal if he/she breaks the virtual barrier.
According to Reuters, Massachusetts authorized the bracelets in 2006 and already have 700 people wearing the bracelets.

In North Carolina’s Pitt County, the domestic violence recidivism rate for bracelet wearers fell from 36 percent to 14 percent. Unfortunately, that rate shot back to 40 percent once the bracelets came off.

The bracelets are made by iSECUREtrac Corp. and cost approximately $3400/year to operate.  While this sounds like a lot of money, it is approximately one-tenth of the annual $30 to $40k cost to incarcerate a person in a typical jail.

The iSECUREtrac system can also set up “inclusion zones” which confine a person to say his/her home for house arrest.  Domestic violence victims can also receive real-time voice alerts when the bracelet wearer violates his/her terms of release.

Read more … Reuters.