D.C. turns to GPS to monitor young criminals

Posted: September 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

The District of Columbia is using GPS to track some of the criminals it releases into the community.

The program was started under Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services interim Director Robert Hildum, and seeks to keep better track of the agency’s wards. This pressure has been on DYRS this year after nearly a dozen of its wards have been charged with murder and more than six have been slain…”Electronic monitoring is a ‘tool’ in the ‘toolbox’ for case managers,” DYRS spokesman Reggie Sanders wrote in an e-mail. “It is not a panacea, but can be helpful to improve the oversight of young people in the community.”

No kidding.  GPS signals–at the earth’s surface, are roughly equivalent to viewing a 25-watt light bulb from a distance of 10,000 miles–still won’t stop bullets.  Nor will e-mails.

The monitoring system allows case managers to make sure their wards are attending school and treatment programs. It can also be used to enforce house arrest. If a ward deviates from a prescribed schedule, or steps out of his home, the case manager is alerted via e-mail. It’s not the first time the District has employed electronic monitoring, youth advocates said, but this program appears to be more advanced than previous iterations.

Critics of the residential program model say it’s too lax, and has led to the killings in which DYRS wards have been implicated.

Among them is police union chief Kris Baumann, who said, “If you think someone is violent enough that they need to be monitored, you just shouldn’t let them out in public.”

GPS: all things to all people at all times, courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.


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