Huffpost Crime

REPORT: 1 In 4 GPS Trackers Worn By L.A. Felons Were Faulty

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ANKLE MONITOR
An example of an ankle monitor. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

A state audit in California revealed faulty electronic monitoring devices allegedly allowed numerous dangerous felons to go unmonitored in Los Angeles County.

The audit, which was obtained by the Los Angeles Times, indicates one in four monitoring devices on criminals in L.A. County were faulty during a 45-day audit period that began on Aug. 1 and ended on Sept. 11.

Problems with the devices included defective batteries and electronics, the Times reported.

Electronic monitoring devices are typically strapped to an offender's ankle. The devices use GPS satellites to transmit the location of the offender to authorities for a predetermined length of time. Many states use them as a solution to overcrowding in jails and prisons.

The audit highlighted several instances where the devices allegedly failed to work correctly.

One case revealed a probationer's device repeatedly malfunctioned and had to be replaced four times in a single month. Another offender's monitor allegedly failed to transmit a signal, leaving him unmonitored for almost three days. A third felon's monitor apparently suffered the same malfunction, which allowed him to go unmonitored for eight days, the Times reported.

According to the Times, the number of criminals wearing electronic monitoring devices in Los Angeles County has increased steadily since 2011. The devices are regularly used on high-risk felons, including repeat sex offenders and violent gang members.

Sentinel Offender Services, the contractor that provides the tracking devices to Los Angeles County, did not reply to Huffington Post emails, seeking comment on Monday.

In a November letter to the Los Angeles County Probation Department, the company indicated part of the problem during the audit was a lack of communication from the probation department. The company also suggested a number of changes that should improve the department's ability to properly monitor criminals.

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