New York, NY — New York’s jails are about to get a GPS tracking system.
The city’s Office of Administrative Services announced Friday it would roll out the system, which will allow inmates to report conditions to supervisors and staff.
The system will be operated by the New York State Department of Corrections and will include a number of features that will be incorporated into existing jails.
The new system is designed to better assist correctional officers with managing time and meeting the needs of inmates, including the use of the electronic monitoring system (EMAS) system, New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
It will also allow the use for monitoring and scheduling of the inmate’s daily commute.
The New York Department of Correction says the new system will enable the department to track the inmates daily needs and schedule visits with them.
In addition to the EMAS system, the new systems will allow for a 24-hour telephone line, a GPS monitor, and a system that can be remotely activated from the jail’s jail phone, jail web, or office.
The EMAS will allow corrections officers to monitor and control the use and occupancy of the jail, which is currently limited to 15 inmates at a time, Cuomo said.
The use of EMAS in jails has been controversial because the technology could potentially allow inmates who are out of control to leave the facility and potentially harm staff.
“If we have a problem, the officers have the ability to step in and take action to keep us in order,” said Michael DeBord, director of the Prisoner Impact Project, a nonprofit that advocates for the health, safety, and well-being of New York correctional inmates.
The proposed system comes as a large part of New England jails grapple with overcrowding and the growing need to manage the population.
In April, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a recommendation for more use of EMA to reduce overcrowding, citing the “serious threat to human and public health” posed by the potential for the EMAs use to cause problems with inmates.
Currently, in Massachusetts jails, inmates can use EMAS to communicate with the outside world, including to family members, or even to take part in group therapy sessions.
In New York jails, the system is being used for both staff and inmates.
“New York’s jail system has been facing tremendous challenges,” Cuomo said, “including the rise of electronic monitoring and electronic confinement, and the need for new technologies that can reduce the use, disruption, and abuse of inmates in our jails.
New York will soon have a much better management system in place, one that will allow the jail to better manage the daily needs of its inmates, which includes the use in the jail of EMAs to track their daily activities and scheduling visits.”