I’m sure like everyone else, you’ve thought of a thousand ways to prevent domestic violence. Now, you can add Diane Rosenfeld to that list. Rosenfeld, director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School has been working on implementing the use of GPS tracking on convicted domestic violence offenders. Rosenfeld explains, “It’s an ankle bracelet with a phone in it so a probation officer or police department can speak to the offender. Say ‘Mr. Jones’, a convicted domestic violence offender, traveled outside the boundaries he was allowed in. The device might say, “Mr. Jones, you are out of your zone.” He could say he was lost, but the GPS shows he’s going toward his ex-wife’s house. We would be able to alert the survivor immediately and tell her not to open the door and, simultaneously, send police.”
Apparently, the technology is being used in 23 states, with 11 more pending to put it in place. One of the first states to use the bracelets was Connecticut. Legislation has been tracking high risk cases since 2004. The great news is that they haven’t had any homicides related to domestic violence in that area.
Of course, the biggest issue will be cost. The monitoring of sex offenders is about $37 a day per person and $27 a day per person for traditional (and I use that term loosely) crimes. Funding for this type of technology will be astronomical. But what is the true cost for safety? The most important thing is to keep survivors safe. And though the ankle bracelet has not been used for domestic violence in the majority of the states, I believe this is something that should be put into motion.
Think about the percentage of deaths that happen in your own state and then think of how they could have been prevented. Once a victim presses charges and it goes through court, I think an ankle bracelet should be issued along with the protection order. These things tend to escalate quickly, especially when the aggressor is told to stay away. As I said before, we have to do something to prevent the high percentage of lives lost due to domestic violence. Because we all know that the probability of a homicide goes up when the perpetrator is rejected.