The community control "house arrest" program was created by the Florida Legislature and implemented by the Department of Corrections in October 1983. The program was designed to address prison overcrowding and the increasing number of offenders being sentenced to prison. By providing the courts with this sentencing alternative, select offenders who might otherwise be sentenced to prison are supervised in the community. Offenders in this program are confined to their homes except during hours of employment, public service work or participation in self-improvement programs that are specifically approved by the community control officer.
In 1987 the Florida Legislature approved the implementation of the Community Control II program which offers expanded capabilities for the surveillance of offenders through the use of electronic monitoring devices. Community Control II program requires all offenders to wear a form of electronic security device, depending on the type of equipment used. The department currently uses "active" tamper-alert ankle devices, which provides computerized surveillance of offenders during the hours of home confinement.
Currently offenders being electronically monitored by Radio Frequency (RF) cannot be monitored while away from their residence and telephone. In other words, while at work or other approved absences from their residence, their whereabouts are not being monitored. The enhanced technology utilizing Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) to track the location of offenders in "near real time" and provide mapping for retrieval upon demand adds a new dimension to supervision. The new GPS system offers additional surveillance and increased protection to victims. For instance, in cases of offenders convicted of sexual crimes where the court has ordered the offender to have no contact with the victim, it is possible to set exclusionary boundaries at whatever distance deemed appropriate around the victimís residence or place of employment. If these perimeters are broken, an early warning can be sent to the victim. The additional features of inclusive and exclusive boundaries, two-way communication with the victim or the offender, location mapping for archives retrieval, immediate tamper notification and remote laptop tracking with a wireless modem for constant communication with the monitoring center, makes the GPS system the best available. It would seem logical that violations of community control would decrease because offenders would know in advance that violations are tracked in "near real time" 24 hours a day.