Should BC have GPS tracking for criminals deemed high-risk to reoffend?

SURREY (NEWS1130) – Alberta has tried it so why doesn’t BC use GPS technology to track released criminals deemed as high risk to reoffend?

The question is being raised after the killing of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch in Surrey last week.

The man accused in the case is Raymond Caissie, who spent 22 years in prison for rape.

When he was released, he was added to a list of less than a dozen people considered a high-risk to re-offend in the last two years.

Alberta has wrapped up a three-year pilot project funded by the province.

University of Calgary Professor Erin Gibbs Van Brunschot says the results haven’t been released yet but those who qualified had the device placed on their ankles.

“The value of a GPS monitor is that it may play a deterrent role, meaning if an individual knows he could be caught or apprehended because of being able to be placed at the scene of a crime, it may definitely cut down on their inclination to commit a crime because of that threat. But the difficulty with GPS monitors is that it doesn’t stop anybody who wants to commit a crime at the time because it tells you where somebody is, it doesn’t tell you what somebody is doing or why.”

She says there are different ways it could be done. That includes passive monitoring or active monitoring. In California, where the devices are put on so many criminals, many of them are not constantly watched. Instead, data is printed out at a certain time of day.

BC’s attorney general tells News1130 GPS isn’t being ruled out for our province and that includes funding the project.

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