Making Community Supervision Safer through Electronic Monitoring, George Drake


The elements of the standard, we call them minimal requirements. And there are five major categories of the minimal requirements. There’s ergonomics, or the physical attributes of the device, and that has to do with the size of the device and the weight of the device. Also, the robustness of the device, because these devices, you know, they’re worn typically on offenders’ legs, they’re going to get knocked around a lot. They’re going to get banged, and they may even be subject to some intentional abuse. And we think that these devices need to hold up under quite a bit of stress and abuse, so that’s the robustness requirement. We’ll have a number of elements under that. Circumvention is another category. We have asked agencies and practitioners what are they seeing? What types of techniques are offenders using to try to circumvent the technology? We’re asking agencies to tell us what they are seeing in the field as far as circumvention techniques that are being used. And whenever possible, we are making an attribute of our standard, a minimal requirement, to address these particular circumvention techniques. So that not only are they able to withstand a lot of abuse, and they are robust, but they aren’t easy to take off or circumvent. It’s very important that we have a lot of faith in the integrity of this equipment. Another is technical operations. These devices are going to be used in Fargo, North Dakota, in the winter time. They’re going to be used in South Florida in the summer time. Lots of different environments, and they need to be able to provide reliable location information in all of these environments, and we will be testing them in each of these environments. And finally we have software requirements. We’ve again asked agencies and practitioners what they need in software and what kind of reports that they use on a daily basis. And we’ve found that many, many agencies have the same requests, and the manufacturers, to some extent, aren’t responding to those requests, so when they are no-have the reports that are needed in the software, we’re going to ask them to include them, just so that the practitioners will have better tools at their disposal. We would like all manufacturers of electronic monitoring and tracking devices to comply with our standards, but it’s voluntary. And we feel that we will encourage many agencies to put that in their requests for proposals to make sure that they are NIJ certified, but it’s not required, and many agencies may not want this requirement, and many manufacturers, perhaps, will not feel it’s necessary to comply with them, but we hope that they will comply.

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