Philly GPS Test For Probationer Tracking Underway

    July 19, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The Philadelphia Pretrial Service Division will use GPS technology to monitor certain probationers and pretrial defendants.

With about 750 pretrial and probation clients under their auspices, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court has turned to electronic GPS monitoring to help track of their movements.

According to a press release, the Philadelphia Pretrial Service is testing BI ExacuTrack with certain clients. BI Incorporated, the largest offender supervision technology supplier in the nation, developed the GPS tracking system.

“Our goal is maintaining the highest level of public safety possible,” said Patricia Farrell, Coordinator, Electronic Monitoring for the Division. “If we are satisfied that GPS tracking can add another alternative to our toolbox of monitoring solutions to help us meet that goal, we will inform our Judiciary that this option is available.

BI ExacuTrack combines an ankle bracelet and a belt-mounted GPS tracking unit. The tracking system also monitors up to 100 zones where a person should or should not be, depending on the circumstances surrounding their monitoring.

An “inclusion” zone could be a person’s home, while an “exclusion” zone may include daycare centers or schools. Zones and maps for a given person can be “very specifically defined.”

“GPS tracking will not prevent crime, but it will provide a very high degree of detail about a person’s activities so we can intervene if necessary,” said Ms. Farrell.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.