Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie, hosted an interim study Friday morning before the House Corrections and Criminal Justice Committee to review existing electronic monitoring programs in Oklahoma’s corrections system and consider possible expansion opportunities for the GPS monitoring program within the Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections (DOC).
James Rudek, chief administrator of community corrections for DOC, said the criteria for those eligible for GPS monitoring is firmly set in statute.
Participating inmates are charged $300 for the monthly monitoring fee but do not pay the cost of the device unless they break it. Rudek said they worked with inmates to help them afford the cost of the monitoring fee by helping them find gainful employment.
“We’ve been very successful on helping them with placements and getting jobs,” Rudek said.
Rudek later told the committee he estimated more than 80% of people who used the program hadn’t returned to prison.
Kerry Nelson represented Attenti Electronic Monitoring, the company contracted by the state of Oklahoma to supply GPS monitoring services for 18 years, and detailed how GPS tracking works.
The device receives signals and delivers data to the software. Nelson said the frequency of data delivery, either hourly or every six hours, depended on whether active or passive monitoring was active for that person. The Attenti servers then receive and store the data, and GPS points are delivered to probation officers via the Attenti software.
Attenti has the ability to monitor major violations, including strap tampering, exclusion zones, or dying battery, in live time. Calls are then placed to the offender to address violations, which Nelson said has the ability to resolve the violation 60-65% of the time. All activity is entered in the case management system.
Nelson said this system helps reduce the workload of probation officers and allows them to wholly focus on violations that are not addressed.
Mize said he would continue to work with the presenters in the future on legislation to help improve the GPS monitoring program.
“I was happy to work with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and Attenti on this legislation last year, and I’m hopeful we can find a path forward to expand the program,” Mize said. “I appreciate the interest of Chairman Humphrey and his work on this issue.”
Senate Bill 456, authored by Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, and carried in the House by Mize, was signed into law in May. The bill, which goes into effect Nov. 1, adds inmates convicted on counts relating to child abuse or neglect and inmates convicted of exploitation of a vulnerable adult to the list of persons ineligible to be placed in the Electronic Monitoring Program.