Johnson County, KS — Johnson County, Kansas, lies just southwest of Kansas City and is home to several bedroom communities for the city, including Overland Park. With more than 550,000 residents, Johnson County is the most populated county in the state.
The Johnson County Department of Corrections (DOC) supervises both juvenile and adult offenders. Adult programs include a residential facility, house arrest, supervised probation, and work release. The home incarceration program (which consists of high-risk pretrial clients, offenders sentenced by the district and municipal courts, and individuals who have violated the terms of their probation) oversees approximately 300 individuals on any given day. The most common offenses that lead to house arrest are drunk driving and domestic violence.
When they enter the program, all offenders report for an intake appointment that includes an assessment for drug or alcohol misuse, an initial urinalysis, and an explanation of the program’s rules and requirements. The majority of clients are under home incarceration for 60 to 90 days.
Clients are confined to their residence with limited, preapproved exceptions for:
The department relies on GPS location monitoring to ensure that clients only leave their residence for preapproved activities, that they are fulfilling their obligations, to ensure clients do not enter court-ordered “no contact” zones, and to monitor offenders’ travel to and from appointments. GPS monitoring also allows the department to instantly track an offender’s location at any given time—an essential feature for managing higher-risk populations.
Johnson County has employed SCRAM GPS since 2014, and the technology is used to monitor approximately 200 offenders each day. Because individuals under supervision are generally considered high-risk, being able to quickly determine a client’s location or identify tampers is essential. The accuracy of SCRAM GPS and the near-instant alerts are key to meeting the program’s needs.
If clients attempt to remove the bracelet or violate an inclusion or exclusion zone, the county receives an alert through the monitoring software. In addition to adding the alert to an agent’s dashboard, the software issues an audible ping to ensure the alert is noticed right away. From there, agents can implement the department’s violation protocol, which involves contacting the client, notifying the victim (for domestic violence cases), and involving law enforcement as needed.
The program also uses SCRAM GPS’s Pursuit Mode to help apprehend offenders who have violated the conditions of their bond or curfew. When agents activate Pursuit Mode in the monitoring software, with one click SCRAM GPS automatically provides location points every 15 seconds to allow officers to track and quickly intercept an offender.
Agents with the Johnson County DOC understand the importance of their work and how it impacts the community they serve. “Our main concerns are safety and holding our clients accountable,” says Doug Bell, House Arrest Supervisor for the Department of Corrections. “The courts are entrusting us to know where these offenders are and to ensure that they are not committing new crimes or making contact with the victims.”
To that end, the program also frequently uses multiple technologies on each offender based on their needs and risks. For example, repeat drunk drivers may be required to wear a SCRAM GPS device to ensure they comply with curfew restrictions and use a SCRAM CAM bracelet or SCRAM Remote Breath tester to ensure they remain alcohol-free.