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Monitoring High-Risk Gang Offenders With GPS Technology: An Evaluation of the California Supervision Program Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2013
112 pages
This evaluation assessed the effectiveness of using a global positioning system (GPS) in monitoring high-risk gang offenders (HRGOs) who are on parole.

The evaluation's findings show that during the 2-year period analyzed, HRGOs in the GPS group were less likely than their control counterparts to be arrested in general or for a violent offense; however, they were much more likely than the control group to violate their parole with technical and non-technical violations. More GPS parolees were returned to custody during the study period, compared to the control group. The cost analysis found that the GPS program cost approximately $21.20 per day per parolee, and traditional supervision cost $7.20 per day per parolee, a difference of $14.00. The process evaluation determined that the GPS program was implemented with a high degree of fidelity across the four dimensions examined: adherence, exposure, quality of program delivery, and program differentiation. The evaluation provides evidence that suppression programs designed to keep high-risk offenders off the street may produce benefits by decreasing violent offenses by gang members and thus increasing public safety; however, the cost analysis suggests that the GPS monitoring program is expensive compared to traditional supervision. This evaluation report presents policy recommendations that could improve the effectiveness and/or reduce the costs of the program, making more cost-effective and thus more attractive to policymakers. The evaluation used a non-equivalent-group quasi-experimental design, with a multilevel discrete-time survival model. A propensity score matching procedure was used to account for differences between the treatment and comparison groups. The study populations were drawn from all HRGOs released from prison between March 2006 and October 2009 in six specialized gang parole units in California. The final sample included 784 subjects equally divided between the treatment and control groups. Data tables, references, and appended parole agent survey

Date Published: September 1, 2013