Report: 140% Increase in Electronic Offender-Tracking Devices

According to a survey and issue brief published by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the use of electronic devices to monitor the movements or location of individuals within the community on pretrial release, probation, or parole has increased significantly over the past 10 years. The rise was tied to an increase in the use of GPS technology.

The number of accused and convicted criminal offenders in the United States who are monitored with ankle bracelets and other electronic tracking devices rose nearly 140 percent over 10 years, according to a survey conducted in December 2015 by The Pew Charitable Trusts. More than 125,000 people were supervised with the devices in 2015, up from 53,000 in 2005. (See Figure 1.)

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government use electronic devices to monitor the movements and activities of pretrial defendants or convicted offenders on probation or parole. The survey counted the number of active GPS and radio-frequency (RF) units reported by the companies that manufacture and operate them, providing the most complete picture to date of the prevalence of these technologies in the nation’s criminal justice system.

For more information read the full issue brief from The Pew Charitable Trusts: Use of Electronic Offender-Tracking Devices Expands Sharply (PDF).