LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office in Lafayette recently began using a smartphone-based app to better track inmates sentenced to participate in a GPS tracking program. The app promises to provide greater ease and security in inmate monitoring via a widely used and easily accessible device.
The parish has partnered with Telmate, a San Francisco-based company, and is now using the firm’s Guardian app. The app is described in a statement by the company as a technically advanced, low-cost, GPS monitoring solution for low-risk populations in community corrections. Community correction includes pre-trial, work release, probation and parole.
“The adoption of Telmate Guardian will give Lafayette the opportunity to have a low-cost alternative to supervise low risk offenders while getting more data about their whereabouts and behaviors,” said Rob Reardon, director of corrections for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, in a statement. Reardon oversees jail operations and programs like the Sheriff’s Tracking Offender Program (STOP), a pre-trial program. He also noted that Lafayette prides itself in exploring challenging ways to provide the most innovative services for the community. “Guardian seems to be the right fit to take this pre-trial program to the next level,” Reardon added.
Guardian offers case managers real-time supervision, easy to read reports, and check-in controls, along with features like photos, voiceprints, and location compliance zones that make it simple to actively pinpoint and supervise enrollees, according to a statement by the company. Additionally, it can allow case managers to more effectively monitor multiple supervisees and larger caseloads.
The Telmate Guardian app is compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones, and requires no new hardware or equipment for case managers and enrollees, keeping it within the department’s budget. Speaking with New Orleans-based newspaper The Advocate, Reardon said that two supervisees began using the Guardian app earlier this month. While the program generally costs $2 per day per user, the sheriff’s office upped the price to $4 to account for administrative and other program expenses. Reardon noted that it still makes for a much cheaper alternative than standard ankle bracelets, which generally run those under supervision $7 per day.
Jeff Hansen, Telmate’s chief marketing officer, describe the app as “a win/win for community corrections in Lafayette” in a statement. “Case managers get a simple, powerful way to add a layer of effective monitoring, and enrollees get a modern, familiar and dignified solution that supports them getting out and staying out,” he added.
Telmate already provides digital and phone-based visitation programs to the parish’s correctional center as well as a commissary account services.