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GEO buys electronic monitoring company BI Incorporated

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Just befo

re the holiday break, the GEO Group reported the purchase of electronic monitoring company BI Incorporated for $415 million.  Formerly known as Behavioral Interventions, the Boulder, Colorado based company has major state and federal contracts. The GEO Group will incorporate the company into its growing GEO Care arm.  According to the company press release:

BI is the largest provider of comprehensive electronic monitoring services, tracking more than 60,000 offenders on behalf of approximately 900 federal, state and local correctional agencies located in all 50 states. BI applies a full continuum of technologies including radio frequency and global positioning system equipment, voice identification, and remote alcohol detection systems. BI also provides community-based re-entry services for approximately 1,700 parolees on behalf of state and local correctional agencies at 26 non-residential day reporting centers across the United States.

Significantly, BI Incorporated has the lucrative contract (PDF) to operate Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s controversial ISAP monitoring program.  While heralded as an alternative to detention program by ICE, ISAP has been strongly criticized by immigrant rights organizations as an overly-punitive system often given to longtime permanent residents and asylum-seekers who otherwise wouldn't be on supervision.  We'll keep you posted on how this acquisition effects GEO's operations in Texas.



Although the need for electronic monitoring has risen in the past years and I personally expect it to rise for years to come.  Not just for offenders but a very wide range of needs.  The technological advance of hardware maybe faster than for the technological advance for software and might be hard to keep up.  For instance the company BI is a very good reputable company and delivers some impressive technology.  But how good is that technology when the technology is dependent on say "bing map" software to guide the monitoring?  There have been multiple reports from indivuduals, news channels and from criminal offenders stating that while elcetronic monitoring was used the equipment malfunctioned.  With reports of location inaccurcies, false boundary readings and in some but rare cases complete service interuption.  I dont think this is fair to even the worst of criminals.  Some get arrested right away when there inaccurate issues arise, some get in trouble the next time they are to report to a probation or parole officer.  Now of course im sure some and maybe a lot of these reports of false readings are not reliable or valid but, I assure you some are very very accurate- to say the least.  What is an offender to do when accused of walking outside his residence while on house arrest?  While the officer states that the "GPS signal is off by alittle bit of course" the offender still gets in trouble because on the map, the location of the offender is 2 feet outside his home, on the other side of the wall, and better yet shows that he walked outside through a brick wall , with no doors or windows in the area of that house.  I hope to see more advances to this tehnology and better ways to validate the errors reported by offenders.  Scott L