While we’re all aware of GPS monitoring being used on sex offenders, a newer program that monitors gang members is getting cut in half early-on in its life. Currently the state monitors about 950 gang members, according to the Sacramento Bee. But come July 1, that number must be cut to 400.
The reduction will save the state around $6 million and is only one of many cuts the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has to make.
“We have to make some difficult choices,” Oscar Hidalgo, a spokesperson for the department said. “During better fiscal times, we would work to increase those numbers once again.”
In Sacramento, the change is not a welcome one at all. There around 50 gang members will be released from GPS monitoring at the same time they are disbanding the Sacramento Police Department’s gang unit. The head of the 14 member gang unit calls the timing “frightening”.
The GPS systems don’t necessarily stop a crime from occurring. But when a gang member is suspected of a crime, the units can place him at the scene. Similarly, when a gang-crime occurs, police can use the systems to see if any of their monitored members were in the area.
The state ensures that no sex offenders will be released from GPS monitoring and that they hope to increase the gang member monitoring once again when the fiscal situation improves.
Despite the few instances where GPS came in handy, some question their effectiveness at all. Phillip Garrido held Jaycee Lee Dugard captive in his back yard and he was being monitored for 17 months of that time via GPS. If someone is motivated to commit an offense, a GPS monitor will not stop them.
In other efforts to save money, the state is looking to shift some responsibilities to the counties, particularly when it comes to the incarceration of nonviolent parole offenders. Also, the number of parolees monitored to ensure compliance with curfews will be cut from 1,700 to 500.
Though the state and even counties are strapped under tight budgetary constraints, this doesn’t allow a free pass on criminal behavior. If you are suspected of violating a criminal offense, you can bet that you’ll still be prosecuted, regardless of the cost.
It’s then, when your back’s against the wall and you are possibly facing prison time, that you need an advocate on your side.
Contact our attorneys today to discuss the details of your case and the options that may be available to you.