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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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Justice Reform

The Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice published a statement highlighting the need for justice in youth prisons. The United States criminal justice system like many other systems has flaws. The U.S. has long been the global leader in youth incarceration, as it locks young people up at a higher rate than any other nation. This effects not only the youth, but also their families and social ties by creating trauma and burdens on all. Youth incarceration is overused, as well as ineffective and inefficient when it comes to changing their behavior and positively influencing them.

More cities are realizing that in order to keep youth off the streets and out of jail, they need to have access to community programs and rehabilitative resources. Adolescents are still growing and developing when they are convicted of crimes and sitting in jail does not help them develop or learn from their mistakes. Punitive measures are becoming less and less conducive to changing the behavior of individuals, especially youth. Proper intervention for youth at risk of committing crimes is beneficial for the individual and public safety.

Racism also plays a heavy role in youth incarceration. With justice reform being a prominent topic right now, racism must also be addressed in youth prison systems. By dismantling youth prison systems, it protects children from physical and mental abuse, addresses the problem of racism, and provides alternatives to programs that will help steer adolescents in the right direction.

The joint statement by Fair and Just Prosecution and Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice on Youth Prisons highlights all of these issues and how improving youth corrections will improve public safety, reduce recidivism and keep children from falling into the revolving door of the criminal justice system. There needs to be positive and supportive change in their lives for them to realize the potential they have. Rehabilitation is the new ‘punishment’, in the hopes of helping adolescents stay out of prison and creating second chances for them.

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Public Safety
An article posted by Corridor News addresses issues surrounding homelessness and recidivism rates in the Austin community. “The Downtown Austin Community Court (DACC) has facilitated dramatic reductions in repeat offenses among individuals experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations”. The Court is aiming to help reduce these issues by showing compassion and care to individuals, by using a rehabilitative approach instead of incarceration or admitting them to hospitals. This leads to the improvement of the individuals lives and reduces strain on public systems, including jails and health care programs.

The DACC has already seen dramatic reductions according to a recent study. “The analysis of citations issued to a group of 59 individuals experiencing homelessness both before and after their engagement with DACC’s Intensive Case Management program reveals that the number of citations plummeted by 99% from 1,556 before participating in DACC services to just 7 afterward”. The mission of the DACC is to continue to serve individuals experiencing homelessness with person to person contact and a comprehensive approach. They want to create safe and respectful environments for people and to provide them with the help they need.

The DACC program is also working with the Intensive Case Management (ICM) to stop the issuing of fines that lead to arrests or threats of jail time. Instead ICM provides access to support systems and programs for substance abuse, mental health care, peer support, basic needs, and permanent and transitional housing. The case management team is currently working with 122 people to combat homelessness and provide a second chance for them. As the program grows, they are expecting to help more people get back on their feet by providing necessary and basic services to combat homelessness and recidivism.
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Justice Reform
The Daily Mining Gazette posted an article bringing to light how much a person’s past can affect their present day lives, no matter the time period. Past mistakes for people, including criminal records, still affect the lives of many. No matter how long it has been since their criminal acts, they are unable to move on from them because they pop up everywhere. Criminal records are a constant reminder of people’s past mistakes. Many serve their sentences and pay their fines trying to move on from young mistakes. However, they are unable to because they have to share their criminal records for job interviews or education facilities.

The Michigan House realized this and therefore fought for their bipartisan expungement reform plan to be approved by the Michigan House. This plan would give “hundreds of thousands of residents with old, low-level criminal convictions the ability to start fresh. It would also shorten the period people must wait before their records can be set aside and establish an automatic expungement system for certain types of offenses”. This provides people a chance to not be haunted by their past. Their past criminal record will not be able to hold them back any further than it already has.

This will also increase public safety as former convicts will be able to obtain better jobs from not having this barrier. It will keep them off the streets and able to provide for themselves and their families, reducing recidivism and crime. Increasing the number of people eligible for jobs will help the job market and companies looking to hire, knowing they have more options. The expansion of the expungement will provide new opportunities to deserving people and work to strengthen and build communities.
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Community Supervision, Public Safety

Like you, TRACKtech is closely monitoring the constantly evolving situation, both internally and externally, as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Though there is significant uncertainty, we remain committed to supporting the industry we serve by providing solutions that focus on the health and safety of the corrections agencies, staff, clients and public. We understand that our ability to assist you in facing these challenges, is critical and we stand ready to step in with that assistance wherever we are needed.

 

With the recent quarantines and lockdowns, exploring innovative community supervision is more important than ever. Officers need tools to effectively supervise their clients and to provide them with access to rehabilitative resources and support in a socially responsible manner.

 

Thankfully, leveraging technology, officers can adapt to the speed of rapidly changing circumstances, and safely connect with clients to keep them on track with remote meetings, check-ins, and other online services. And with partners such as Cisco, rapid deployment is available to implement remote communication.



Take a look at how technology is moving forward to continue making a difference in individuals’ lives during a crisis like this.
CLICK HERE FOR OUR SOLUTION

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Public Safety

In Charlotte, North Carolina an article was published by the Patch Staff in relation to a business robbery. The business reported two men entering the store mid-afternoon to steal money. The store owner confronted the two, trying to grab one suspect but they quickly made their escape. No one was injured in the process. After the incident, investigators were able to quickly identify one of the suspects, as he was wearing a court-ordered electronic monitoring device at the time of the robbery. The suspect had been arrested the previous month for being in possession of a stolen firearm and stolen vehicle, and then proceeding to discharge the firearm. Due to the electronic monitor on his ankle, police tracked him down and were able to convict him of the crime after a full confession. Without the tracking and pinpoints of the suspect’s whereabouts, the police would most likely not have been able to track him down.

TRACKtech, LLC is a platform designed for supervisors to be able to monitor and observe the locations of their program members. It pinpoints their location near-real time and allows for supervisors to check in with their program members remotely through the TRACKphone. More importantly than monitoring offender locations, the platform provides rehabilitative and life resources to those convicted in the hopes of reducing recidivism. Without reliable electronic monitoring devices and easy to use platforms, cases like these could go unsolved, and they also provide extra security in public safety concerns surrounding convicted felons on parole or probation. With rehabilitative resources available, ideally cases like this would not even occur. 

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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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Public Safety

Biometric identification is becoming an increasingly favored technology method for companies to use when verifying or searching for the identity of a person. In a recent article published by Government Technology about biometric identification, massive gains in accuracy and lower costs allow facial recognition to serve as a reliable application for governments and other companies to use. The facial recognition market is growing rapidly, estimated to reach $7.76 billion in value globally. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Hillsboro, Oregon, was one of the first law enforcement agencies in the country to use Amazon’s facial recognition software program at a cost of $7 per month. Using this program regularly has led to dozens of arrests for theft, violence and other crimes. 

However, as the technology becomes increasingly accurate, privacy advocates are worried about diminishing what little privacy people have left. Without proper checks and balances in place, the latest technology has the potential for abuse, intrusiveness and invasion of privacy. With this also comes the risk being raised that facial recognition technologies struggle with discerning people of color accurately, resulting in an inherent bias. Many cities are working towards keeping the use of facial recognition technology under control and being aware of privacy issues.

TRACKtech, LLC has incorporated biometric identification into our products to increase safety and verification of program members. The TRACKphone provides the supervisor with a choice of three options for biometric verification including a fingerprint, iris scan or voice recognition. Biometric verification is used to ensure that the program member is the one in possession of the phone and allows for supervisors to monitor where they are, as well as check in with them through secured verification. TRACKtech ensures that all data is secure and does not misuse biometric verification technology, in the hopes of still providing the program member with reassurance that they have privacy, even while under supervision. 

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Public Safety
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week takes place the week of April 14 – April 20, recognizing the dedicated men and women who are the first line of defense and comprise emergency response agencies. Bartlesville Police Department Dispatcher, Teri Roberts, is one of these people. She listens to the caller’s needs and types information into the computer system, which takes eight monitors to manage. She asks the caller questions about the type of call and their location, while maneuvering her mouse to one of the screens dedicated to the radio frequencies for 20 different agencies. Roberts quickly notifies the Fire Department and Ambulance of the address of the call and the details of the caller’s emergency. She takes pride in her work, and after completing the call she states, “It’s all in a day’s work, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Securely located in the Bartlesville Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the dispatch center has three different shifts, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are 15 dispatchers contracted to handle all the 911 emergency calls across the entire county. Rick Silver, Special Assistant to the Chief of Police at Bartlesville Police Department, is responsible for the dispatch center. From the 1st of January to March 31st, Silver recalled that over 4,200 emergency calls and over 18,000 non-emergency calls to 911 had been answered by dispatchers. “I’ve always told everyone my whole career that being a cop was what I wanted to do. To me that was the easy thing. I would never be a dispatcher,” Silver said. “It takes a special kind of person to be able to do that job because it is very hectic sometimes. People don’t realize the volume of calls that come in there.”

Dispatchers aren’t just the first line of defense for the people calling in, but also for the officers who are handling these calls out in the field. A dispatcher must be a multi-tasker, someone who is able to gather information and provide it to the officers and responders in the field while remaining calm and professional during stressful and intense situations.

Terri Mcarty, who has been a dispatcher for 33 years, says she wouldn’t do anything else. “It’s just what we like to do – help the community, and it makes you feel good that you are able to help somebody in their time of need. We are behind the scenes, and no one really knows who you are, but it just makes you feel good to go home at the end of the day and know that you helped somebody.”

Jon Copeland, Undersheriff of Washington County believes that dispatchers are crucial to assisting local deputies. “They are the heroes behind the scenes, the unsung heroes. They are the ones taking the initial information and letting deputies, EMS, fire, and police officers know where they need to go. They gather quite a bit of information and check up on us when they are on a call.” He is so thankful for the calm and steady voice on the radio. “It’s priceless. We can’t thank our dispatchers enough.”
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Jail Overcrowding

According to the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC), the jail population in Coffee County has seen a 25 percent decline in recent weeks. Currently, there are about 320 prisoners in the county jail, roughly 100 fewer than a few months ago. The Sheriff’s Department of Coffee County works collectively with other county organizations and departments on the issue of reducing prison populations, while also ensuring that the community is free from risks. Coffee County has made such an improvement on their prison population primarily by utilizing modern technology.

In 2017, cases began being handled through a video conferencing system between the judges and inmates. The judge would sit on their bench in court while the inmates appear on a video monitor from the jail, completely negating fuel costs and saving taxpayers money. This practice is also safer and more secure. Before video conferences took place, arraignments could take all day and required the inmate to be placed in a holding cell in the justice center. If this trend continues, the change would lead to some $1.5 million in annual savings for taxpayers in the county.

Department officials are also examining various alternative prison practices like the use of a house arrest system with an ankle monitor. Though house arrest and electronically monitored parole has been very successful, using an ankle monitor carries a stigma and only provides the GPS location on a map. The TRACKPhone™ is a modern replacement for the ankle monitor and has a vast assortment of utilities, such as rehabilitative support, behavioral assessments and remote video meetings with parole officers. Ankle monitors can be excessively expensive, costing up to $40 a day. By taking advantage of TRACKTech technology, Coffee County could reduce their prison population even more while saving more money for the taxpayers.

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