O.C. terminates GPS firm for failing to track probationers
After an internal audit revealed negligence, officials at the Orange County Probation Department have terminated a contract with a GPS monitoring service.
The audit showed that in a review of 143 cases, there were more than 15 instances of “gross negligence,” including failure to track people on probation for periods up to 28 days and not reporting individuals for repeatedly violating their probation.
“The findings of that report were anything less than stellar. In fact, it was alarming,” Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer said of the audit of Sentinel Offender Services LLC, which helped manage electric confinement cases, along with a home detention program using a global positioning satellite system.
“These untracked individuals posed an immediate threat to public safety, and I could not just sit back and watch,” Spitzer said.
The results also highlight problems the county is facing, specifically jail overcrowding, due to Assembly Bill 109 - legislation allowing California to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons.
Many of the inmates released must be tracked electronically.
“These incidents show why we cannot rely on such alternatives in lieu of incarceration,” Spitzer said. “We want to monitor the probationer. But we also need to monitor the monitors.”
Probation officials say that Sentinel continued to have GPS tracking failures last month, between July 1 and July 15 - violations often linked with alcohol testing.
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