Location Tracking Systems for Community Supervision


Published August 2023

For several decades, location tracking systems (LTS) have been used to monitor the location of individuals under some forms of community supervision. Multiple factors have driven increased interest in LTS as part of community supervision, including the impact of COVID-19 on face-to-face supervision, concerns related to prison and jail overcrowding, court case backlogs, and bail reform initiatives. In parallel, advances in enabling technologies associated with consumer electronics and wearables (e.g., sensors, power management, 5G communication) are expanding LTS functionality in ways that can support effective supervision and increase opportunities to leverage technology to improve outcomes. However, LTS are not a panacea, a quick fix, or a one-size-fits-all solution. Operational limitations related to officer workload, costs, noncompliance, and ethical concerns remain. This brief begins with relevant context and use cases for LTS, followed by an in-depth look at technology and product insights and implementation considerations intended to support decisions by courts and supervision agencies. This is the second document in a four-part series on technologies to support the monitoring and supervision of individuals on pretrial release, probation, and parole (i.e., community supervision).

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