COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina relies on electronic monitoring to keep track of hundreds of offenders after they are released from prison. Through the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, the state contracts with two different companies that use GPS technology to track offenders' movements and ensure they are complying with release conditions.
— THE LAW: All types of offenders in South Carolina are eligible for electronic ankle bracelets, but most are sex offenders. In 2006, the South Carolina Legislature passed the Sex Offender Accountability and Protection of Minors Act, which provides for lifetime GPS monitoring of offenders convicted of committing a sex offense against a minor. Based on the offense, the court may have discretion of imposing lifetime monitoring or such monitoring may be mandated.
— HOW MANY?: As of May 2013, South Carolina was tracking 616 offenders using GPS monitoring provided by one of two companies, Omnilink or Satellite Tracking of People. This figure has gone up 33 percent since January 2011, when there were 414 active offenders being tracked.
— KEEPING UP: About 160 agents across South Carolina constantly monitor offenders' tracking devices and respond to any alerts or issues around-the-clock. On a given day, up to 30 of those agents are on call for duty. Most alerts are minor compliance or equipment problems, such as low battery power, and those are often handled by phone. When a violation is suspected, field agents do home visits — an average of more than 170 a month — to find the offender and figure out the source of the alert.
In addition to the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, other entities across the state also provide electronic monitoring of offenders, including county jails. This sampling included the state agency alone.
Source: South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services