GPS monitors used to track offenders in Conn.

The News Leader

April 4, 2010 2:26:25 PM PDT
A pilot program using global positioning satellite monitors is being used to track offenders to protect victims of domestic violence. Gov. M. Jodi Rell says the $140,000 program, which is paid for with federal stimulus money, is set to begin in the Bridgeport, Hartford and Danielson judicial districts. It will operate for a year.

The program was one of several initiatives approved recently by the legislature's judiciary committee. It comes follows several incidents in which women were killed, allegedly by estranged husbands and former boyfriends.

State workers will outfit at least 21 high-risk offenders with devices that will let victims and police know when an offender is too close to a victim, the victim's home or wherever courts have forbidden offenders from approaching.

"We continue to do all we can to keep victims safe and to make our domestic violence laws the toughest in the nation," Rell said.

The equipment will be used on domestic violence offenders who are charged in adult criminal court with violating a restraining or protective order or are considered likely to pursue their victims, she said. Court officials will decide which offenders will receive the monitors.

Both the offender and victim will have ankle bracelets, which will notify a victim and the police when a defendant has violated buffer zones or tampers with the device.

The device's warning will enable victims to get out of harm's way and guide police to the offender. Anyone who violates restrictions will face additional penalties in criminal court.

Chief Court Administrator Barbara M. Quinn said the pilot program will allow the state to gauge the effectiveness of this new technology before it's applied statewide.