(USNewsBreak.com) – Technology has advanced significantly over the past few decades. Smartphone users can wear watches that relay messages to them or carry out basic tasks without touching their devices. Now, similar technology is making its way into the jail systems, and one state is leading the way in testing.
The Southwest Ohio County Court System is looking for a new way to monitor criminal offenders while simultaneously reducing the stigma associated with wearing an ankle monitor. It is introducing a new smart device, the VeriWatch, a GPS monitor that can replace the “clunky boxes” they wear now. It goes around the wrist instead of the ankle and operates much like a smartwatch without the added features.
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The device reportedly pulls on Wi-Fi networks and GPS to provide accurate tracking and contains a messaging system allowing the wearer to communicate with their parole officers. It can also help them remember court dates with a built-in calendar. The user would not take it off for the duration of their monitoring, even to charge it. Instead, the VeriWatch has a charger that snaps onto it. The device also locks onto the wearer’s wrist and includes proximity sensors that alert authorities if someone is trying to remove it.
Some mixed opinions surround the use of the devices. Some believe more testing is necessary, while others, like Mike Steele from the Warren County Court of Common Pleas adult probation department, embrace it. Steele, the assistant director of electronic monitoring, says he conducted field testing. He wore a regular ankle monitor and received a lot of looks from the public. Yet, public reaction was null when he wore the VeriWatch.
Warren County Judge Robert Peeler is firmly on board with the new method, as well. According to a report from The Hill, he said it would help remove the “scarlet letter” that offenders deal with when trying to reintegrate into society. The outlet reported he sees it as a game-changer.
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