The goals of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR's) global positioning system (GPS) monitoring program are to monitor and track the movement of parolees. The CDCR's High-Risk Gang Offender (HRGO) GPS monitoring program is specifically for parolees who have been categorized as high risk for gang involvement or activity.
Parolees are categorized as high risk for gang involvement or activity by the CDCR's GPS Monitoring Gang Eligibility Assessment Criteria before receiving their parole supervision assignment. Parolees are categorized as high risk if they meet at least one of the mandatory criteria of the assessment. These criteria include being validated as a prison gang member or associate, being assigned a special condition of parole to not associate with any prison or street gang member, and previous involvement in gang activity. If a parolee meets any of the eligibility criteria, the parole agent of record and the parole unit supervisor hold a conference to determine whether the GPS monitoring program is appropriate based on additional criteria such as prior offenses and current compliance with parole conditions.
The two main components of the HRGO GPS monitoring program are GPS monitoring and intensive supervision.
GPS Monitoring. The GPS monitoring portion of the HRGO program uses cellular and GPS technology to track parolees in real time. The unit takes a data point every minute and transmits location data every 10 minutes to the monitoring center. The monitoring center then provides the parole agent with location information in two formats. The first format is a daily summary report, which details all activity recorded by the GPS unit such as device charging activity, zone violations, strap tampers, and other violations. Parole agents are also able to review the movement patterns, or "tracks," of the parolee on a Web mapping application. This information allows parole agents to investigate any unusual or suspicious movements. The second format is the immediate alert (IA) notifications, which are automatically generated text messages sent to the parole agent of record for specific types of high-priority violations. If a parole agent needs to get in contact with a parolee the agent can signal the GPS device worn on the offender to beep or vibrate, signaling to the parolee the need to contact his parole agent.
There are multiple features of the GPS monitoring service that assist the parole agent in monitoring the parolee. Inclusion zones are specific geographic locations that the parolee is required to be in during certain times of the day. Moving out of an inclusion zone would trigger an IA notification. Exclusion zones are geographic locations that a parolee is prohibited from entering. Entering an exclusion zone would also trigger an IA notification.
The typical GPS ankle unit for the HRGO program is a single-piece unit secured to the parolee's left ankle with a tamper-resistant, fiber-optic technology strap. The unit weighs about six ounces and is about the size of a computer mouse. Battery life is about 48 hours per charge. Charging takes about 1 hour. All GPS parole agents are equipped with laptops and wireless Internet cards to allow access to the Web-based services from the field.
Intensive Supervision. The intensive supervision portion of the HRGO program includes frequent contact between the parole agents and parolees. Soon after release from prison, parole agents must meet face-to-face with the parolee and conduct an initial interview. During this first meeting, parole agents are required to inform the parolee of the GPS monitoring as a special condition of parole, and to explain that participation is mandatory and refusal will result in return to prison. As part of the intensive supervision, parole agents must meet at the parolee's residence soon after release, conduct a minimum number of face-to-face contacts monthly, conduct a minimum number of collateral contacts monthly (i.e., acquaintances and family members of the parolee), conduct a minimum number of random drug tests monthly, meet with law enforcement to update parole information a minimum number of times each year, and conduct a case review a minimum number of times each year.