A government audit last summer looked at a sample of 68 GPS offenders and found that officers with the state's Board of Probation and Parole had failed to clear or confirm 80 percent of the 11,347 alerts they generated over 10 months.
The report also found that offenders placed on monitors because they were deemed to need extra supervision actually got less because corrections officials routinely skipped critical tasks, such as verifying that sex offenders were attending mandatory counseling sessions.
On average, some 900 offenders are tracked with GPS monitoring devices in the state during any given month. There were 13,487 alerts generated during the month of April this year. However, officials said not all of them were actionable. For example, an officer may change an offender's unit and trigger a tamper alert because the circuit is broken, or an alarm may sound if an offender drives by a school, even if he or she doesn't stop.
At one time, the Board of Probation and Parole handled much of the monitoring. But a legislative measure passed last year moved certain functions relating to probation and parole services to the state Correction Department, which now shares in the monitoring.
— Satellite Tracking of People (STOP) has a contract to operate the monitoring system in Tennessee. The state has a one-year contract that expires in December with an option to renew for up to two more years after.
— Probation/parole officers investigate alerts 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
— Monitor types are both GPS and radio-frequency.
— Rape of a child and aggravated rape of a child are laws that require electronic bracelets.
Source: Tennessee Department of Correction.