Electronic GPS monitors: a look a the pros and cons of the device

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Should the Department of Public Safety invest in more electronic ankle monitors to prevent furloughed inmates from escape?

At least three inmates failed to return to work furlough programs in the last week.

Supporters of electronic ankle monitors said the device would likely prevent that from happening as often and make it easier to locate inmates who choose to run.

Clarence Nishihara, Senate Chair of the Committee on Public Safety said there are a number of positive things that come from using the devices.

“The monitors provide the safety for the public that if they are released that law enforcement can find where they are,” Nishihara said.

In an email,l the Department of Public Safety said the devices are very effective in locating inmates:
“Furlough staff are able to provide real time tracking coordinates to the law enforcement agencies”

On July 31st inmate Fransico Ranit failed to return to the Laumaka Work Furlough Center. He was located in Waianae on August 1st thanks to his electronic GPS monitor.

The Department of Public Safety said OCCC currently has 69 electronic surveillance devices.
The intake service centers have 43.

DPS said they hope to “maximize the number of furloughed inmates on electronic devices.”

Nishihara said the monitors allow inmates found guilty of lesser crimes, more freedom and it is cheaper than incarceration.

But those Kat Brady, coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons, said electronic trackers make it harder for inmates to transition back into society.

“That is a barrier to re-entry so if electronic monitors are used they should be used fairly judiciously over people who need to be monitored closely. People who present a clear and present danger,” Brady said.

Brady calls the devices a form of invisible incarceration and said the devices open the door for negative speculation for those forced to wear them.

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