Study finds “cultural shift” in reentry programming

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A study funded by the National Institute of Justice has found that reentry programming in the United States has become more focused on rehabilitation and evidence-based practices in the wake of the Second Chance Act.

The SCA, signed into law in 2008, was created to provide support and services for post-release offenders, with the ultimate goal of reducing recidivism—rates of which have been disconcertingly high in the U.S. for the past few decades.

The study (which can be read in full here) is an implementation evaluation of the SCA among 10 state and local government agencies that were among the first to receive SCA funding. (An evaluation on the SCA’s effect on recidivism will be released in 2015.)

What’s most interesting, however, is that, as a part of the study, researchers found three major system changes that summarized as:

1) Partnerships are growing.

2) Services are becoming more “holistic.”

3) There is a cultural shift in thinking about how services are delivered.

The last point is particularly significant, as it suggests that reentry workers—like case managers and parole officers—are approaching their jobs in new (and re-energized!) ways. As the Corrections article states, the cultural shift means there’s less of a focus on simply enforcing rules and regulations and more of a focus on actually rehabilitating offenders so they don’t fall back into criminal activity.

Another large part of the cultural shift is an acceptance of evidence-based practices, which are designed to change the behaviors and attitudes of offenders by treating each offender on their own risks and needs.

BI Incorporated’s sister company, GEO Reentry Services, works hard to provide successful reentry programming founded on evidence-based practices. GEO Reentry provides day reporting services as well as behavioral treatment and life skills classes so offenders are successfully prepared for life after parole or probation.

BI often works in conjunction with reentry services to provide reliable electronic monitoring technology to state and local agencies for offenders deemed suitable for the program. Electronic monitoring, like GPS tracking and alcohol monitoring, help to keep pre- and post-release offenders on track and accountable for their actions.

To read more about BI’s successful partnerships, click here.

Posted in Industry News, Reentry

Prison population decrease linked to sentencing reform

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barb wire 1Recent figures suggest that a decrease in the federal prison population is a result of the changing way drug cases are being handled by federal prosecutors.

The Guardian outlined the issue in a recent report on a U.S. Sentencing Commission meeting where the topic of the days was across-the-board cuts to penalty guidelines for drug crimes.

Department of Justice prisons director Charles Samuels revealed that for the first half of the 2014 fiscal year (which started in October), there was a year-on-year decrease of 3,521 inmates in the 119 federal prisons run by the bureau.

The total federal prison population is 216,000, making the decline seem fairly small, but officials have stated that the decline is substantial compared to past figures.

As mentioned in the article, Attorney General Eric Holder has encouraged an adjustment to sentencing guidelines for drug offenses, stating that too many Americans go to prison for longer than necessary when often there is no compelling evidence that such inmates are locked away for good public safety reasons.

Instead of long prison sentences, Holder has pushed a reform agenda that promotes successful reentry programming and strong community supervision so that offenders have a chance of rehabilitation while still being kept accountable for their actions.

Prison reform also has the added benefit for taxpayers in reducing the high costs of incarceration.

BI Incorporated works with correctional agencies nationwide to provide cost-effective offender monitoring technology, including GPS tracking systems and alcohol monitoring devices, that helps officials keep parolees on track and compliant to the terms of their parole.

Often, BI works in conjunction with its sister company, GEO Reentry Services, which provides evidence-based reentry programming designed to change criminal behavior through therapy, alcohol and substance abuse treatment and classes that teach offenders the life skills they need to leave the cycle of crime.

To learn more about the products offered by BI, click here. You can read about BI’s successful partnerships in our case studies section.

Posted in Industry News, Monitoring Technology

BI enters into exclusive agreement with U.S. Communities

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U.S. CommunitiesBI Incorporated is excited to announce an exclusive agreement with U.S. Communities that will allow governmental agencies to contract with BI for offender monitoring technologies and reentry services at best value.

U.S. Communities, the leading national government purchasing alliance, aggregates the purchasing power of more than 90,000 public agencies nationwide by offering registered agencies the ability to make purchases through existing, competitively solicited contracts between a supplier, such as BI, and a lead public agency. Public agencies pay no costs and are charged no fees to participate.

This exclusive contract was awarded through a competitive solicitation process conducted by the lead public agency, City and County of Denver, a U.S. Communities Advisory Board member.

“We are excited to be the lead public agency on this national procurement contract. We believe this is a valuable tool for any public agency looking to acquire electronic monitoring solutions. As a current customer, we understand the value this brings to not only our community but other cities, counties and states,” Jim McIntyre, director of purchasing for the City and County of Denver, said.

Increasingly, governmental agencies are looking to community-based programs — such as electronic monitoring and reentry services— to reduce prison and jail costs and help offenders return to the community with enhanced supervision, treatment and training.

Established in 1978, BI works with more than 1,700 correctional agencies nationwide. BI offers more than a dozen electronic monitoring systems, including GPS tracking, alcohol monitoring and traditional radio-frequency monitoring to monitor schedules, curfews and behavior of offenders released to probation, parole and pretrial release.

To learn more, click here.


Posted in Industry News, Monitoring Technology

Attorney General prioritizes criminal justice reform in 2015 budget

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Showing that he’s serious about criminal justice reform, Attorney General Eric Holder provided for $173 million to go toward reform efforts in the Justice Department’s proposed 2015 budget.

The requested funds are part of Holder’s “smart on crime” initiative, which we’ve written about previously, and would go toward reducing recidivism levels amongst low-level drug offenders and promoting alternatives to detention.

Funds would also go toward expanding the federal residential drug abuse program and drug abuse programs at the state level.

Additionally, $115 million would go toward the Second Chance Act grant program which helps to fund reentry programs across the United States.

For a more detailed breakdown of the budget, click here.

BI Incorporated has partnered with counties and correctional agencies across the country to provide electronic monitoring technology—often in conjunction with GEO Reentry Services’s reentry programs—to support local initiatives exploring alternatives to detention in attempts to cut incarceration costs and reduce recidivism levels.

Studies have shown that electronic monitoring reduces recidivism rates and is more effective in detecting parole violations than traditional supervision.

To read more about BI’s electronic monitoring program and the successes different counties have had with BI, please visit our case studies page.

Posted in Monitoring Operations, Reentry

BI Incorporated acquires Protocol Government Solutions

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BI Monitoring OperationsBI Incorporated is excited to announce the acquisition of Protocol Government Solutions, a firm that provides call center and case management services for community corrections agencies that use electronic monitoring as a part of community supervision. 

“BI and Protocol have rich histories supporting community corrections agencies,” Ann Schlarb, BI Divisional Vice President, said. “We will work closely to share expertise in an attempt to assist our customers in their public safety efforts.”Protocol, which has 185 employees, has served the criminal justice field since 1993 and has collaborated with BI in many jurisdictions since 2003.

Protocol will become a division of BI, while Henry Conforti, currently Vice President of Operations at Protocol, will become BI Vice President of Protocol Operations.

To learn more, click here.

Posted in Industry News

Study finds GPS monitoring more effective in detecting parole violations

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A study of offenders monitored by GPS technology found that GPS monitoring is more successful in reducing recidivism and more effective at detecting parole violations than traditional supervision.

The study, prepared for the National Institute of Justice, examined high-risk gang offenders in California over a two-year period. Half of the offenders were placed under traditional supervision, while the other half was placed under GPS monitoring.

Researchers found that subjects in the GPS group were less likely to be arrested for a violent offense than those in the control group, but were more likely to violate their parole with technical and nontechnical violations.

These findings suggest that GPS monitoring is better at detecting violations than traditional supervision, and would allow corrections officials to intervene with the non-compliant offender before a more serious offense is committed.

While GPS monitoring is more costly than traditional supervision, researchers found that it is also more effective.

You can read the study in full, including methodology and subsequent recommendations, here.

BI Incorporated works with several correctional agencies in California to offer electronic monitoring solutions, including two GPS tracking solutions, the BI ExacuTrack® and the BI ExacuTrack One. Read more about these systems here.

Posted in Monitoring Technology

Nebraska legislators to consider increased use of electronic monitoring

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Nebraska State Capitol Offenders in Nebraska might be required to wear electronic monitoring devices if two prospective bills make it through the Nebraska legislature.

The bills, detailed in this Omaha World-Herald article, would require parolees convicted of violent gun crimes to wear monitoring bracelets for up to six months and, separately, would release offenders early from prison so long as they agree to wear the bracelets.

The first bill is being drafted by the Omaha Police Department and is still in need of a sponsor, while the second is sponsored by State Sen. Brad Ashford.

The deputy chief of the Omaha Police Department states he believes increased electronic monitoring could reduce the risk of criminals re-offending. As we’ve written recently, studies have shown that electronic monitoring can be a deterrent to criminal behavior.

Support for Ashford’s bill is detailed in a more recent Omaha World-Herald article.

BI Incorporated offers a wide range of electronic monitoring systems, including GPS tracking, sophisticated alcohol monitoring, or traditional electronic monitoring devices, that are successfully in use in communities nationwide. The devices help corrections officials hold offenders accountable for complying with conditions of release to the community. When offenders are non-compliant, alerts are sent through the proper channels so that additional sanctions may be put in place.

BI monitoring systems are also backed up by our industry-leading call center, BI Monitoring Operations, where technical and customer support is available 24/7, 365-days a year.

To learn more about the electronic monitoring devices that we offer, please refer here.


Posted in Monitoring Technology

Pennsylvania bill seeks to track domestic abusers through GPS

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Pennsylvania Capitol Building Legislators in Pennsylvania are targeting domestic abusers who violate protection orders in a new bill that would, among other things, require abusers to wear GPS trackers.

The proposed bill is detailed in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article and includes other measures like domestic violence training for police officers and the option for courts to mail protection-from-abuse orders through the mail.

According to the article, the legislation was inspired by a Pennsylvania woman whose abusive ex-boyfriend stalked her repeatedly despite court orders.

The success of GPS monitoring was recently featured in a report by the National Institute of Justice (which we blogged about last week), that found sex offenders in California were less likely to recidivate when monitored by GPS tracking systems.

At BI Incorporated, our goal is to reduce recidivism while keeping the public safe, which is why we offer the BI ExacuTrack One, a lightweight, tamper-resistant ankle-mounted tracking unit that accurately monitors the offender’s movement throughout the day.

The device uses a mix of technologies (like autonomous GPS, assisted GPS and Advanced Forward Link Trilateration) to reliably monitor the wearer, even in challenging conditions, like moving cars and indoors—keeping offenders accountable for their actions and whereabouts.

GPS tracking units also save taxpayer money, as it is far less expensive to pay for the trackers than it is to pay the daily costs of incarceration. (The article states that under the proposed bill, the trackers would be about $10 a day while the daily jail costs per inmate are upwards of $100.)

Presently, BI and GEO Reentry Services are working with several counties in Pennsylvania to provide successful monitoring and reentry programs that promote public safety, reducing recidivism and saving costs.


Posted in Monitoring Technology

Sex offenders under GPS monitoring less likely to recidivate

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ETOne_BlueSex offenders are less likely to commit crimes when monitored by GPS tracking systems according to a study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice.

The study focused on 516 high-risk sex offenders in California released from prison between 2006 and 2009. As a part of the study, half of the parolees were given GPS monitoring devices to wear in addition to the traditional parole supervision (regular contact with parole agents and weekly sex-offender treatment course) all parolees in California receive. The other half of the parolees received solely traditional parole supervision.

Interestingly, researchers tracked each parolee for a year and found that parolees with GPS monitoring devices returned to custody at a 38 percent lower rate than parolees who only received traditional supervision. Parolees under traditional supervision also committed new crimes and had their parole revoked more often than the GPS group.

As the study notes, researchers found GPS monitoring to not only be more effective in reducing recidivism, it was also more cost-effective in the long-run—that is, it costs more to send sex offenders back to prison or to confinement in community institutions if they are deemed too dangerous to return to the community after their prison sentence ends.

Researchers also made several recommendations based off their research, which can be read in full here.

BI has partnered with many correctional agencies in California, particularly since the passage of AB 109, to provide reliable GPS tracking devices—like our BI ExacuTrack and BI ExacuTrack One—and offender monitoring support, including our 24/7/365 BI Monitoring Operations support center.

Our GPS tracking devices accurately monitor an offender’s movement, noting when they enter into a restricted area and monitoring curfew restrictions, making it easier to keep offenders accountable for their actions while encouraging compliance to pre- and post-release court-ordered sanctions.

To learn more about our products and services, please refer here.

Posted in Industry News, Monitoring Technology

Electronic monitoring successful in Shasta County

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BI ExacuTrack One

A sheriff in Shasta County, Calif., is pleased with the success of electronic monitoring in tracking offenders, saying the county has a much higher rate of reportage than in previous years.  BI Incorporated was selected to manage the program for Shasta County Probation, including use of its equipment and services, in 2010.

According to the article, only 35 percent of offenders placed under house arrest reported daily to authorities prior to instituting the GPS monitoring program. That number jumped to 85 percent in 2013.

The county enforces compliance to their alternative custody regulations by placing sanctions on offenders who forcibly remove or tamper with the GPS equipment—sometimes sending the offenders back to prison.

As we’ve written before, GPS monitoring is considered an active tracking system suitable for high-risk offenders who need continuous monitoring.

BI Incorporated offers the BI ExacuTrack® One, a single, ankle-mounted tracking unit that can collect data as frequently as once every 15 seconds. When alerts are generated, officers can receive them via pager, e-mail, PDA or a combination of these methods. Supervising officers may also send pre-recorded voice messages—like appointment reminders or to notify an offender when they have entered a forbidden zone—through the tracking unit.

BI has been a leader in offender monitoring since 1978, working with correctional agencies worldwide to enforce offender compliance to court-ordered sanctions and community supervision and reentry programs, like those offered by GEO Reentry Services.

Evidence shows that when offenders are kept accountable for their time and actions through monitoring and evidence-based reentry programs, they stand a much better chance of successfully reintegrating into society. You can read about successful BI partnerships here.

Posted in Monitoring Technology