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GPS Monitoring Technologies and Domestic Violence: An Evaluation Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2012
245 pages

This study examined the use of Global Positioning System(GPS) technology to monitor compliance with court-mandated "no contact" orders in domestic-violence (DV) cases, particularly those that have involved violence.


In addition, the study also determined the effectiveness of GPS as a form of pretrial supervision in DV cases compared to other pretrial supervision conditions. The findings indicate that the use of GPS impacts the behavior of program enrollees over both short and long terms. The short-term impact was associated with no contact attempts; and defendants enrolled in GPS monitoring had fewer program violations compared to those placed in traditional electronic monitoring (EM) that uses radio frequency (RF) technology. The latter involves remotely monitoring house arrest, but without tracking. Apparently, GPS tracking increases defendants' compliance with program conditions compared to those who are monitored for presence at a particular location, usually the home residence, but are not tracked for all locations. Defendants enrolled in the Midwest GPS program had a lower probability of being rearrested for a DV offense during the 1-year follow-up period compared to defendants who had been in a non-GPS condition (e.g., in jail, in a EM program, or release on bond without supervision). In another study site, those placed on GPS had a lower likelihood of arrest for any criminal violation within the 1-year follow-up period. In a third site, however, no impact from participation in GPS monitoring was found. The authors speculate that the heterogeneity of the defendants placed on GPS at the latter site, along with the different method for generating the sample of DV defendants, may explain the absence of an impact of GPS on arrest in the long term. The finding also suggests that defendants' participation in GPS increased the likelihood of conviction. 32 tables, 67 references, 82 notes, and appended study instruments

Date Published: June 1, 2012