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Electronic Monitoring Expanded to Target Communities’ More Dangerous Offenders

November 2007:

In accordance with state law, this progress report informs the Legislature of actions taken by the Department of Corrections in response to a 2005 OPPAGA report. 1, 2 This report presents our assessment of the extent to which the department has addressed the findings and recommendations included in our report and examines the department’s current use of electronic monitoring.

The Department of Corrections’ Office of Community Corrections is responsible for supervising approximately 150,000 offenders living in communities throughout Florida. The department uses electronic monitoring as a tool to enhance surveillance of selected offenders under community supervision. On June 30, 2007, the department had 1,415 offenders under electronic surveillance, representing 1.2% of the offenders under active supervision in the community. 3

At the time of our 2005 report, the department used three types of electronic monitoring: an active Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, a passive GPS system, and a Radio Frequency system. The active GPS system tracks offender movements in real time and identifies offenders who enter specified exclusion zones, such as schools or public parks. When these violations occur an alarm notification is sent to the monitoring center and the offender’s probation officer. The passive GPS system tracks offender movements but not in real time; each day the offender’s probation officer receives reports of the previous day’s movement. The radio frequency monitoring system uses an offender’s landline telephone to monitor whether the offender is home at required times. As of June 30, 2007, most (89%) monitored offenders were supervised with the active GPS system.

In Fiscal Year 2006-07 the department paid vendors approximately $2.9 million to track 1,814 offenders. For Fiscal Year 2007-08, the Legislature appropriated $7,392,936 for electronic monitoring.

For the remainder of this paper: by OPPAGA supports the Florida Legislature by providing evaluative research and objective analyses to promote government accountability and the efficient and effective use of public resources.

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