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Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of Electronic Monitoring

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2010
207 pages
This study assessed the effectiveness of electronic monitoring (EM) in enhancing the outcomes of offender supervision in the community, as well as EM's impact on offenders' personal and family relationships, employment, and assimilation into the community.

The quantitative analysis found that EM reduced offenders' risk of supervision failure by 31 percent. It also determined that compared to EM that used radio frequency (RF), EM that used a global positioning system (GPS) had 6 percent fewer supervision failures. All categories of offenders, regardless of offense type, experienced fewer supervision violations as a result of EM; however, the effect was reduced for violent offenders. Offenders of all age groups and those under different forms of community supervision had improved supervision outcomes under EM. The findings from the qualitative analysis found that EM goals and objectives were being met, as indicated by administrators' reports; and officers' and offenders' opinions of EM's impact on undesirable behavior were consistent with the findings from the quantitative assessment; however, being under supervision with EM did have adverse consequences for offenders' families, offender employment opportunities, and adjustment in the community. The study advises that consideration should be given to refining the selection of offenders deemed most appropriate for EM. Regarding the functioning of EM devices, they frequently lost the satellite signal, resulting in numerous unnecessary alerts. A recent enhancement for the Florida Department of Corrections' (FDOC's) EM program has been the statewide monitoring center, which has significantly reduced the number of alerts. In addition EM operations may be improved by increasing judges' understanding of the equipment, the most appropriate subjects for EM, and key operational aspects of EM. Data sources for this study included FDOC administrative data on 5,034 medium-risk and high-risk offenders on EM and 266,991 offenders not placed on EM over a 6-year period. Extensive tables and figures and approximately 62 references

Date Published: January 1, 2010