Offender Tracking and Other Electronic Supervision Technologies

Offender tracking devices are widely used by law enforcement and corrections officers, but no guidelines exist for the development and procurement of the devices. Developing an offender tracking system standard was identified as a high-priority technology need by the Community Corrections Technology Working Group, sponsored by NIJ.

Offender Tracking

Procuring and Implementing Offender Tracking Technology: Challenges and Needs. Justice Technology Information Center, 2018.

Criminal justice agencies increasingly leverage offender tracking technology in the supervision of accused and convicted criminal offenders. According to a 2016 survey conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, agencies were supervising more than 88,000 individuals with offender tracking technology, a 30-fold increase from the roughly 2,900 reported a decade earlier. In light of the increasingly important role that offender tracking technology plays in community supervision, the Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC), a program of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), assembled an expert panel of administrators and program managers with responsibility for their agencies’ offender tracking programs. This report presents the results of the panel’s discussions.

Benefit-Cost Estimates of Electronic Monitoring, Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2017

The WSIPP benefit-cost analysis examines, on an apples-to-apples basis, the monetary value of programs or policies to determine whether the benefits from the program exceed its costs. This meta-analysis includes studies on individuals who were on probation with electronic monitoring. They were compared to similar individuals who received intensive supervision, parole, continuation of sentence or home confinement without electronic monitoring.

Use of Electronic Offender-Tracking Devices Expands Sharply – Pew Charitable Trusts, 2016

This survey of electronic tracking devices provides the first valid, comprehensive count of the number of accused and convicted criminal offenders monitored with GPS and RF technologies in the United States. More than 125,000 people were tracked with the devices on a single day in 2015, up nearly 140 percent from the 53,000 reported on the same day in 2005. A sharp increase in the use of GPS technology accounted for all of the growth, more than offsetting a 25-percent decline in the use of RF systems. Despite the overall expansion of electronic tracking, however, the technology remains relatively rare in U.S. corrections, and additional growth should be guided by rigorous research.

Market Survey of Location-Based Offender Tracking Technologies, Version 1.1 - National Criminal Justice Technology Research, Test, and Evaluation Center, 2016 (PDF)
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/249889.pdf

This report presents survey findings about Offender Tracking System (OTS) offerings from product vendors. The survey framework enables a comparative analysis of 16 tracking devices to assist public safety and criminal justice practitioners who may be considering the acquisition and implementation of this type of technology.  The report also provides background context for OTS, the NIJ RT&E Center’s methodology for developing the market survey and future considerations for OTS procurement.  

GPS Monitoring Practices in Community Supervision and the Potential Impact of Advanced Analytics, Version 1.0 - National Criminal Justice Technology Research, Test, and Evaluation Center, 2016 (PDF)

This paper briefly reviews research on the usage of location-based tracking to motivate an assessment of the potential role of advanced analytics in more strongly leveraging the capabilities of such systems. Relying in part on the results from a recent market survey of commercially available analytics products suitable for use in correctional applications, it presents several recommendations for deriving actionable information from GPS tracking data as an aid to managing community-released offender populations.

Offender Tracking Record Transfer Service Specification Development, Final Report (PDF, 10 pages)
Offender tracking systems generate vast amounts of data. However, community corrections agencies that operate offender tracking programs report that it is often difficult to share this data. This problem is most clearly manifested in cases where an agency is ending its contractual relationship with one offender tracking provider and moving to another.

Criminal Justice Offender Tracking System Standard — NIJ Standard-1004.00 (PDF)
This document is a voluntary performance standard for offender tracking systems (OTSs) used by the criminal justice community. It defines both performance requirements and the methods used to test performance.

DRAFT Selection and Application Guide to Offender Tracking Systems for Criminal Justice Professionals — NIJ Guide 1004.00 (PDF)
This document provides guidance concerning the functionality, procurement, selection, use and maintenance of offender tracking systems (OTSs) used by law enforcement and corrections practitioners to track the location of participants.

DRAFT Criminal Justice Offender Tracking System Certification Program Requirements — NIJ CR-1004.00 (PDF)
This document specifies the requirements that a certification body must satisfy in order to act as a product certification body for purposes of Criminal Justice Offender Tracking System Standard NIJ Standard- 1004.00.

DRAFT Criminal Justice Offender Tracking System Refurbishment Service Program Requirements — NIJ-RP-1004.00 (PDF)
This document specifies the refurbished equipment-specific program requirements that a certification body must comply with in order to act as a service certification body for purposes of offender tracking systems.

Offender Tracking Record Transfer Service Specification, Version 1.0 – 2016 (PDF)

Offender tracking systems generate vast amounts of data; however, community corrections agencies that operate offender tracking programs report that it is often difficult to share this data. This problem is most clearly manifested in cases where an agency is ending its contractual relationship with one offender tracking provider and moving to another. Agencies have expressed a desire to automatically transfer as much information as possible (e.g. demographic data, location data, violation and alert data) from a previous provider to populate the data fields of the new providers software. This capability would allow the retention of important historical data and streamline the client re-enrollment process. This project was an effort to develop the models and technical components, in the form of a service specification, specific to the transfer of offender tracking information between systems. The goal of this project was to develop a Global Reference Architecture (GRA) Service Specification Package (SSP) for the transfer of offender tracking information (offender tracking record) from one offender tracking system to another. Further, it is envisioned that this SSP could provide a foundation for future information exchange initiatives between multiple criminal justice agencies and the various offender tracking system providers that operate in this country. The capability for automated information sharing across jurisdictions and provider software platforms would greatly enhance public safety.

Examining Electronic Monitoring Technologies — Pew Public Safety Performance Project, 2015
Although recent studies have found that electronic monitoring is a promising tool for reducing recidivism and controlling corrections costs, questions remain about its effectiveness as an alternative to incarceration. The Pew Charitable Trusts recently interviewed five experts to get their perspectives on the uses, advantages and disadvantages of EM technologies, as well as possible directions for future research.

Electronic Monitoring: Draft National Standard for Offender Tracking Systems Addresses Common Stakeholder Needs — Government Accountability Office, 2015 (PDF)
This report examines NIJ’s effort to develop national standards for offender tracking technology, specifically how well NIJ collaborated with stakeholders in developing the standard and how well the standard addresses stakeholders needs and challenges.

Geoshadow: Evaluating the Effectiveness of the ODOC's Location-based Offender Monitoring System — University of Oklahoma, 2015
This study evaluates the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) current use of its GPS monitoring system, develops a Geographic Information System (GIS) toolkit for spatiotemporal analysis of movement patterns of individual GPS participants and group behaviors, and examines historical GPS data and associated offender case notes to identify personal characteristics and spatial movement patterns that improve criteria used for selecting suitable offenders or program.  

A Practical Guide for Offender Tracking Evidence Protocols, NLECTC Corrections Technology Center of Excellence, 2014
This report provides guidance on how to best handle the various types of offender tracking evidence that may be required in a court proceeding. It was developed for agencies that operate offender tracking programs and assumes a basic understanding of the technologies used. The report is available to law enforcement and corrections agencies on request by emailing asknlectc@justnet.org

Monitoring High-Risk Gang Offenders With GPS Technology: An Evaluation of the California Supervision Program — National Institute of Justice, 2013 (PDF)
This evaluation assessed the effectiveness of using a global positioning system (GPS) in monitoring high-risk gang offenders (HRGOs) who are on parole.

GPS Monitoring Technologies and Domestic Violence: An Evaluation Study — National Institute of Justice, 2012 (PDF)
This study examined the use of global positioning system (GPS) technology to monitor compliance with court-mandated no contact orders in domestic violence (DV) cases.

Monitoring High-Risk Sex Offenders With GPS Technology: An Evaluation of the California Supervision Program — National Institute of Justice, 2012 (PDF)
This study examines the effectiveness of global positioning system (GPS) monitoring of high-risk sex offenders released on parole.  The study integrates outcome, cost and process evaluation components.

Automated Reporting

Kiosk Supervision: A Guidebook for Community Corrections Professionals – 2016

Automated kiosk reporting systems have gained popularity in recent years as community supervision agencies strive to provide quality supervision services at reduced costs. This guidebook, which provides community supervision agencies with an overview of automated kiosk reporting systems, is based primarily on the findings of a multi-jurisdiction kiosk study on the use of automated kiosk reporting systems to supervise clients placed under community supervision. This research was designed to gather as much information as possible on automated kiosk reporting systems from the field—e.g., community supervision agencies that were currently using, seriously considered using or formerly used automated kiosk reporting systems to supervise clients—and to compile and disseminate the information collected to community supervision agencies that may be exploring alternatives to traditional officer supervision.

Kiosk Supervision for the District of Columbia – 2011

This brief discusses the capabilities of kiosk supervision technology, how kiosk supervision fits within a broader risk reduction supervision
strategy, challenges of kiosk implementation and empirical evidence regarding kiosk supervision impacts.  It concludes with recommendations for implementation of a kiosk supervision system in the District of Columbia.

Innovations in Probation: Assessing New York City’s Automated Reporting System — The JFA Institute, 2007
This study examines the effectiveness of kiosk reporting as a way to cost-effectively manage low-risk offenders in the community.

Computer/Internet Monitoring

Field Search logo

“Field Search: Community-Based Computer Forensics Software Widens Its Scope,” TechBeat January 2016 — Justice Technology Information Center
This article describes the innovations and new features offered in Version 5.0 of Field Search, the free computer forensics software offered by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System. Qualified professionals can obtain a copy of the software by emailing asknlectc@justnet.org. Visit the Field Search web page for more details.

Corrections Technology Resource Center (CTRC)
This online resource is dedicated to providing public-sector agencies with information regarding a wide variety of technologies used in correctional settings. Members can gain access to a repository of documents and publications as well as a forum that can be used to communicate directly with each other to discuss areas of common concern. This site is strictly for active, public-sector criminal justice professionals and the intent is to provide a secure environment for sharing information and exchanging ideas.

Supervising Cybercrime Offenders Through Computer-Related Conditions: A Guide for Judges — Federal Judicial Center, 2015 (PDF)
This guide provides an overview of the rapidly evolving law regarding offender computer and Internet use, the factors courts should consider in determining whether to impose restrictions, conditions requiring the use of computer filtering or monitoring software and procedural issues related to the imposition and execution of such restrictions.

Social Media in Community Supervision: Promising Practices for Policy and Implementation — Council of State Governments, 2015
This webinar shares emerging research regarding the importance of establishing policies around the use of social media by community corrections administrators, managers and supervisors including the administration of social media content, setting expectations for appropriate employee personal use, and investigation and supervision standards. 

Issue Paper on the Use of Social Media in Community Corrections — American Probation and Parole Association, 2014 (PDF)
This paper highlights the importance of establishing policies around social media use and identifies some of the issues agencies may encounter as they incorporate social media in their investigation and supervision practices. 

Issue Paper on Managing the Risks Posed by Offender Computer Use — American Probation and Parole Association, 2011 (PDF)
The paper discusses the risks posed by offender computer use as well as strategies that probation and parole agencies can employ to monitor cyberspace activities.

Contact:
JTIC
Joe Russo,
Corrections Technology Coordinator
jrusso@du.edu