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Electronic Monitoring of Offenders in the Community

Michigan's electronic monitoring system is meant to provide community supervision staff with additional tools to intensely supervise persons in the community. The Department also provides this monitoring service for some district and probate courts, sheriffs' departments, and juveniles. The Curfew Monitoring (formerly known as Radio Frequency) program was successfully piloted in 1986 and implemented statewide by the end of 1987. The system allows for the monitoring and enforcement of curfews and other conditions of community supervision. Persons supervised using electronic monitoring devices are managed more closely than other persons in the community. The use of electronic monitoring may be used to divert a person from placement in local county jails as well as act as an additional deterrent while under community supervision.

The former Radio Frequency monitoring system did not have the capability to "track" a person’s whereabouts like a homing device however it was able to determine if they were home when required.  In 2014, the Department changed vendors and incorporated new monitoring technology (now referred to as Curfew Monitoring)  using Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking and cellular service to report violation behavior in real-time. Curfew Monitoring tracks a person’s movement to determine their compliance with an approved schedule by using “home zones”  around their approved residence. Persons on Curfew Monitoring are monitored to confirm their compliance with an approved schedule. Although not required, agents may also review GPS points to verify their participation in approved programs such as treatment, school, or work. The use of this new technology allows the agent to confirm a person’s compliance with their imposed curfew while having the ability to “spot check” their movement in the community.

In 2004, the monitoring program for alcohol consumption expanded with the introduction of the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (S.C.R.A.M.) alcohol monitoring device.  This technology uses fuel cell technology and monitors alcohol consumption twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week.  The S.C.R.A.M. device takes readings that are stored in the bracelet and transmitted to a host computer through the use of a modem at a pre-determined time.     

In 2007, GPS technology was officially introduced as an electronic monitoring option within the Department of Corrections. The device used for GPS monitoring is the same device that is used for Curfew Monitoring. Its' current primary target population is specific paroled sex offenders. This device records a person’s movement throughout the community and reports those movements to a host computer. Department of Corrections field agents are required to review all GPS maps and track the movement of the GPS classified persons for each day. The map review requirement for GPS monitoring is very labor-intensive; therefore, these agents generally have smaller caseload sizes which allow them to give greater attention to these cases.

In 2015, the vendor introduced a Remote Breath device option that is essentially a hand-held breathalyzer.  The device includes facial recognition technology to verify a person’s identity and notifies them when to take a test either at random intervals or pre-determined times.  The test results, including a date/time stamp, a picture of the person taking the test, and the GPS point of the location where the test was taken are transmitted to the host server.  Although the S.C.R.A.M. ankle device is the preferred option for alcohol monitoring, the Remote Breath device offers an option for persons with medical conditions which may prevent the use of a S.C.R.A.M. bracelet.       




Image of electronic monitoring device