Massivedynamic.co
Community Supervision

The Chicago Tribune posted an article highlighting how a lack of ankle monitors is keeping defendants behind bars. Because of the shortage, many people who were up for parole are stuck in Cook County Jail. Their original release date has been pushed back and they are unable to do anything about it because the corrections facilities have run out of equipment. Amid COVID-19, there was a massive push to reduce jail populations in the hopes of reducing the risk of it spreading in facilities. Because of this, many inmates were released and placed on parole. This helped reduce the population behind bars drastically to help mitigate COVID-19. However, this has put more stress on the already limited supply of monitors available. With having to keep people in jail, this could cause a slow in the progress jails and prisons have made when it comes to stopping the spread.

Supplies are being replenished each week but very slowly with only 12 new monitors coming in to the facility to be used. Cook County Jail said they are expecting a shipment of 50 alternative devices and 26 defendants will have their electronic monitoring orders returned to be viewed by a judge. COVID-19 has created a lot of chaos when it comes to supply shortages in jails and prisons. It was not foreseen that this many people would be released on electronic monitoring devices to reduce prison populations. As more monitors come in, people who are stuck in jail are being released to serve their jail term or parole at home.

TRACKtech, LLC is a company working hard to provide companies and facilities with electronic monitoring devices. Our platform is user friendly and monitors all program members efficiently and in a timely manner. TRACKphone is a device that allows officers to check in with their program members regularly through biometric identification and allows them to monitor the program members location with customized geofencing applications. TRACKphone also provides extensive resources for program members to use to rehabilitate better into society. Our extensive platforms aim to reduce recidivism and can help get people stuck in jail out. The platform helps officers manage their caseloads more efficiently while still monitoring each one closely. During this crisis, TRACKtech, LLC has continued to improve their products and hopes to be able to do their part during these uncertain times by providing an electronic monitoring system during the shortage of them.

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Public Safety

Community supervision has become the new norm for officers to monitor individuals out on bail, during pretrial, or serving probation and parole time. However, it is difficult to monitor those who have committed low level offenses or are registered sex offenders, as they are not closely monitored through tracking devices. In an article posted by the Crime Report, it is estimated that 25,000 convicted sex offenders and predators across the U.S. are unaccounted for. This is due to them registering their addresses as homeless shelters or from them moving and never being located concluding that their whereabouts are unknown to law enforcement.

There is a concerning issue at hand for how to monitor these individuals on the limited budgets and time of officers. This shortcoming predates the pandemic and has only increased the problem as space in jails and prisons is limited, so many have been released. Although steps have been taken to try to protect victims and those harmed by these individuals, it is not always conclusive. State registries often have many errors, including wrong addresses, names of individuals that have passed away, and some that have not verified their whereabouts in years. A new way of addressing the issue and protecting the community is vital.

TRACKtech is committed to problem solving, especially when it comes to monitoring individuals and keeping the public safe. TRACKphone allows officers to monitor the location of their program member without having to visually see them, as they can promptly request check-ins that require biometric identification. Officers can also set up geofencing and parameters that alert them when offenders are violating designated locations. Behavioral and mental health resources and programs are available on the phone for program members to access to help rehabilitate them, instead of punishing them. With the pandemic in full swing and more individuals being released, TRACKtech can provide solutions to urgent matters.

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Community Supervision

Community Supervision is slowly evolving back to the rehabilitative concept it initially started with, according to an article published by The Crime Report. Today, there are 4.5 million Americans under probation or parole, with 2.3 million individuals each year failing to complete their supervision requirements and returning to prison. With the “revolving-door justice” and justice reform happening across the world, people are calling for a radically different approach when it comes to parole and probation and the methods used for it. This initiative commends abandoning punitive aspects of the system and instead focusing on rehabilitative methods. At the moment, community supervision is focused heavily on fines, penalties and jail time for minor non-criminal infractions. By approaching community supervision differently, it will help people transition better back into society and stop punishing them for a crime they have done the time for. It provides a supportive fresh start to those who need it. 

To reduce the number of people under community supervision and to make it less punitive and more equitable, restorative and hopeful, a new EXiT (Executives Transforming Probation and Parole) Strategy has been created.  The reforms of this strategy focus on reducing the number of technical violations, eliminating incarceration for those violations, prioritizing services and support over surveillance and supervision, establishing reasonable probation and parole terms and supporting probation and parole staff with training and resources. Many states, including New York, Michigan, South Dakota and Pennsylvania, have started to follow suit in justice reform by focusing more on rehabilitation versus punishment.

TRACKtech, LLC supports these changes and evolution in community supervision. Our platform is designed to provide rehabilitative resources and support to program members to integrate them successfully into society. Probation and parole officers can monitor program members easily and check in with them through biometric identification and video conferencing. Punitive ways are ineffective when it comes to reducing recidivism rates. Rehabilitative and justice reform movements in community supervision are more helpful and provide results for people re-entering society.

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Justice Reform

LEVICK is a communication firm that focuses on rebuilding other companies reputations and helping fix the impossible. They recently wrote a blog featuring TRACKtech about what companies can do to embrace #BlackLivesMatter and the ongoing civil rights movements. They focused on Rayshard Brooks story and how he was one of many who fell through the cracks of the prison reentry and probation system. His story, however, has gone viral unlike many others who had devastating and unfortunate outcomes. One detail that is not discussed about Rayshard Brooks’ death is that he should never have been in contact with police the night he died. He was serving probation time, after being incarcerated, and working hard to turn his life around, as he had a job and family to support. He was trying to be better for them and to do the right thing but felt restricted by the criminal justice system.

There is a large lack of guidance and support for individuals who are on parole and probation. Many leave prison with nowhere to go, no income, no job lined up, and no knowledge of how to support themselves. Rayshard Brooks describes these hardships and needing more guidance and mentorship in a video that was recorded just four months before his death. He said he wanted “things to be better, you know, within probation and parole and also monitoring”. The system needs to focus more on looking at people as individuals and structuring support towards their needs, by taking a rehabilitative approach instead of punitive. Those serving parole have paid their debt to society through incarceration and if they are seeking to have a second chance, they should have that opportunity. It should be easier for them to turn their lives around if willing than is possible in the justice system right now.

Rayshard Brooks talked about needing a mentor and having his probation officer there for him more. With officers being overloaded with case loads, it is hard for them to provide attention to all individuals assigned to them. TRACKtech understands this difficulty for parole and probation officers but also for the individual needing more structure and resources to reintegrate back into society. Our products are designed to provide these resources for the individual, such as Rayshard Brooks, through different rehabilitative services and programs. We believe in rehabilitative practices that focus on the individual and speak to their needs. Also, our products give officers more time with each person by being able to remotely check-in with individuals through biometric identification, video conferencing and being able to monitor their compliance through an easy to use dashboard. It is vital that the justice reform system be transformed to help individuals like Rayshard Brooks who struggle reintegrating into society and finding their place again. It should be accessible and rewarding for the hard work they put into their second chance at life.

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Community Supervision

With COVID-19 still being rampant in the United States, release of individuals from prisons and jails has been a solution to overcrowding. A recent article highlights how Tuolumne County Court won funds for a pilot pretrial release program. Tuolumne County Court Executive Officer Hector Gonzalez shared a new pretrial pilot program under a two-year grant to improve pretrial release practices, which began on June 30th. The program was created to address jail overcrowding, reduce failures to appear, prioritize community safety and reduce discrimination based on wealth and race. Tuolumne was chosen with 17 other counties to participate in the pretrial release program. It was awarded $632,000 by the Judicial Council of California (JCC) to work on pretrial release.

Many jails have been releasing individuals before trials, as there is no space in jails to keep them. Overcrowding has become an even more pressing issue during COVID-19 as it puts inmates and staff at risk. The pretrial program is working to keep people safe while providing an alternative to keeping individuals in jail while awaiting trial.

TRACKtech is a platform designed to help officers with pretrial individuals as well as those on probation and parole. With the TRACKphone, officers are able to remotely check-in with individuals via bio-metric identification and video conferencing. This allows for them to monitor an individual’s location and make sure they are compliant. Individuals also are sent calendar reminders for court dates, to help ensure they show up. This reduces technical violations and helps keep the individual responsible for appearing in court, while remaining out of prison. Pretrial release is a prevalent issue that TRACKtech can help solve by allowing officers and courts to be in contact with the individual and still monitor their location. Our products provide an alternative to people being out on release while awaiting trial, instead of overpopulating jails.

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Community Supervision

An article published by The Mercury News talks about how Contra Costa County might temporarily stop collecting certain court fees from people facing criminal charges or getting out of jail. Justice reform advocates argue it is an unfair burden for the poor as they cannot afford the fees and struggle to pay them. The Board of Supervisors met two weeks ago to consider suspending the fees until the end of the year and possibly permanently eliminate them. The fees in consideration of suspension are probation report fees, public defenders’ fees and fees for alternative custody programs, including electronic monitoring and work alternatives to jail time. To make it fair for all people, the fees would be waived for everyone in court, not just those who cannot afford them. 

The fees can add up to thousands of dollars, adding additional stress to those who are transitioning out of the criminal justice system and back into society, as many do not have a job or support system to help them pay the fees. However, eliminating these fees runs the risk of losing around $1.8 million spent on court programs and operations. This would cause the courts to decide which programs to reduce or eliminate and how to deal with this loss of revenue each year. The court system is willing to work on finding the money elsewhere as the fees create huge barriers to people re-integrating into society successfully and debt free. 

The move to eliminate these fees for people has moved in the right direction and has support from district supervisors and governmental officials. Since 2017, California has been moving in the direction of not collecting fees from families and focusing on helping people rehabilitate and become functioning members of society again. Contra Costa County is hopeful they will be able to help people coming out of jail by not having to pay the fees and saving them thousands of dollars that can be put to good use for themselves and their families. 

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Recidivism

A new program in the Pinal County Jail has begun allowing inmates to use electronic tablets in an effort to reduce their likelihood of committing repeat crimes. The Sheriff’s Office is collaborating with Securus Technologies to provide this influential program, which supplied the equipment without charge. “With tablets, inmates can stay in touch with family and keep their minds preoccupied with educational and religious programming,” Sheriff Mark Lamb stated in the press release. “We expect that it will help with behavior.”

The SecureView tablets are intended to help prisoners maintain contact with their families, access the law library, apply for employment nearing their release date, and access educational and religious programming, such as books and podcasts. The tablets are incredibly intuitive and require no staff intervention. Additionally, utilizing these tablets will be instrumental in familiarizing prisoners with the technologies they will encounter after their release. The prisoners are able to message and call their loved ones through the tablets. This provides a much better opportunity to keep in touch with family and reduce the stress of life while incarcerated through the regular means of communication. Many studies show that regular communication and close relationships with loved ones while incarcerated can greatly reduce the risk of recidivism.

Games are also being introduced on the tablets, with the intent to keep inmates occupied and entertained, while reducing the likelihood that they will be disruptive and take part in arguments or fights. This is not only beneficial to the safety of the inmates but to the staff as well. 

Sheriff Mark Lamb states that they want to be the top jail in the state, or even the western region. “The community needs to see what we are providing for our inmates to help them get back on their feet to be the best citizens they can be.”

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Community Supervision

The Marshall Project recently published an article that touches on a bill passed by the Illinois legislature requiring community corrections officials to maintain and publish data on electronic monitoring of former prisoners, including racial makeup and rates of recidivism. The bill was passed due to a hearing in which “advocates and legislators criticized the misuse of electronic monitoring, as an independent report showed how little data the Prisoner Review Board and Department of Corrections kept on those they placed on tracking devices.” Because of this, it is now required that the board and department produce an annual report of those who are electronically monitored and for what reason. It was a necessary step to take as community corrections officials admit they have little evidence to support that the ankle bracelets are being used to show the location of former inmates and protecting public safety. Considering the state of Illinois does not have a parole system and instead requires a period of supervised release for those who have finished their sentence, it is important that they have a functioning and secure system to monitor former prisoners with. With many companies not tracking their clients and using the data collected to improve services, TRACKtech has taken the initiative to provide a better solution to monitor clients.

TRACKtech,LLC provides community supervisors the ability to monitor the location of its program members through real-time check-ins and store the data to provide supervisors access to it when they need. Supervisors can monitor the program member’s pattern of life and at risk behavior through video conferencing and behavioral health assessments. Dynamic geo-fencing helps keep program members in or away from specific locations at appropriate times, notifying the supervisor if a location violation has occurred. Community supervisors have easy access to their entire caseload in TRACKcase, allowing them to monitor and track all program members. Ultimately, the ease of TRACKtech technology avoids misuse of monitoring and helps rehabilitate those under supervision. TRACKtech strives to provide solutions to better manage and improve success of program members while increasing public safety.

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Community Supervision

The sheer multitude of technical innovation in the last century has transformed almost every aspect of contemporary life, from GPS and social networking to touch screen smart phones.  Society has moved on, why hasn’t compliance monitoring technology?

Improvements in electronic technology and the increasing pressure of prison costs, overcrowding and recidivism rates has made the prospect of offender monitoring much more appealing. To date, electronic monitoring has been primarily used as a way of providing the location of offenders but not much else. To some who have successfully reintegrated into the community, ankle monitors are incarceration by another name. They are expensive, unsightly, and automatically show the public that the person wearing it has been in trouble with the law. By utilizing electronic monitoring in the form of a smart phone, offenders are more easily accepted into the community and can foster confidence in their rehabilitation.

With innovations in technology, such as the TRACKphone™, supervising officers can dispense positive reinforcement and rehabilitative support while enforcing compliance. Offenders equipped with the TRACKphone™ are verified with biometric identity confirmation and are given behavioral assessments to evaluate their risk score.  Trends in their usage of the phone can be identified and provide their supervisor with valuable insight into what specific therapeutic materials would most benefit the offender. Cognitive behavioral therapy and rehabilitative support enhances the offender’s quality of life and significantly reduces their chance of committing another crime and returning to prison.

One of the largest advantages with innovative electronic monitoring is the ability to maintain necessary control of individuals in the community while providing them the opportunity to maintain family ties, employment, and self-improvement.

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Community Supervision

Despite changes and reforms in the treatment of those prosecuted and detained in jails, our legal system is still riddled with dilemmas and uncertainty. Though much reform has occurred in the past year and a half, Co-Executive Director of the Chicago Community Bond Fund, Sharlyn Grace, stated that there are still concerns about the more than 2,000 people in Chicago that are supposed to be tracked under electronic monitoring. Grace insists that there is no research confirming if electronic monitoring is effective, but that ankle monitors cause a very serious restriction on liberty. Lavette Mayes, who was under electronic supervision for five months, stated that ankle monitors are just little miniature jails in the community. There is a thin line between public safety and the rights of the accused.

The goal of our criminal justice system is to improve public safety and to ensure that justice is properly and impartially administered. But how far is too far when it comes to the rights of those under electronic supervision?

Theoretically, ankle monitors are an appealing alternative to jail and provide the chance to be in the community with family and friends, but they also seem to deprive people of their rights and liberties  to a certain point. Ankle monitors require hours of charging or the offender risks being sent back to jail, so they often must stand by a public outlet and charge their ankle monitor while enduring the judgement of those around them. The monitors are also incredibly expensive, sometimes costing up to $40 per day. This exorbitant cost can keep someone from being able to pay their bills and cover basic needs. This can result in a higher risk of ending up back in jail or becoming entangled in crime as a last resort, causing a more prudent threat to public safety.

Despite the increase in usage of ankle monitors, there is a lack of extensive research to suggest that ankle monitors inherently keep the public safe to the extent that this intrusion of rights is warranted. Punitive technology is not addressing the root of the problems that people face and why they end up in prison. Instead of punishing these people, we should be using technology to help them to create better and healthier lives.

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