CSOSA uses Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite monitoring for the highest-risk offenders as part of a series of graduated sanctions or as a special condition imposed by the releasing authority. GPS monitoring is used to enforce curfews, establish prohibited/restricted areas, and assess and monitor offender movement in the community. Depending on the type of GPS technology employed with a particular offender, monitoring can be performed on an almost real-time basis.
GPS offers a high level of offender accountability to both the public and crime victims by monitoring whether an offender enters prescribed areas, such as an elementary school or victim's neighborhood, and notifying the offender's Community Supervision Officer (CSO) immediately if such prohibited movement occurs. This effective tool allows CSOSA to provide heightened supervision of high-risk offenders while allowing such offenders to productively rehabilitate in the community.
On any given day, at least 100 offenders are on GPS monitoring. Offenders may be placed on GPS tracking as part of graduated sanctioning under any of the following supervision circumstances/statuses:
- Loss of Contact
- Sex Offender
- Mental Health Offender
- Domestic Violence Offender
- Recalcitrant/Unemployed Offender
- PCP Positive Drug Testing Offender
GPS equipment consists of a tracking device, which is a small bracelet transmitter with a strap that is placed on the offender's ankle. The ankle transmitter is not to be removed by the offender during the entire monitoring period. The GPS transmitter communicates with satellites and downloads location coordinates into a communications center. Once GPS data is downloaded from the satellite, the data is available to CSOSA's GPS staff and Community Service Officers through GPS mapping, system-generated monitoring status reports and cell phone and/or email violation alerts. Once it is determined by GPS staff that a GPS violation has occurred, the CSO will immediately initiate action with the offender. GPS placements typically last between 14 and 90 days.
CSOSA staff work daily with the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and other law enforcement agencies to match offender GPS coordinates with crime locations. Mapping technology allows CSOSA to create extremely detailed maps of locations and offender movements to aid in suspect apprehension and identification of witnesses. CSOSA has trained and provided MPD staff with direct access to the GPS system for monitoring purposes. MPD's Intelligence Fusion Division, responsible for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information related to violent crimes occurring within the District of Columbia, is a regular user of CSOSA's GPS data. In addition to MPD, several other criminal justice partners use CSOSA's GPS data. They include:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- United States Attorney's Office (USAO)
- University of Maryland College Park Police
- United States Capitol Police
- United States Park Police
- Prince George's County Police Department
- Prince George's County Sheriff's Department
- Montgomery County Police Department
- United States Marshals Service (USMS)