Despite wearing an ankle bracelet, a Henry County, Ga., teen allegedly went on a wild crime spree. The 16-year-old, now in police custody, is accused of two carjackings, the theft of a third car and armed robbery in the early morning hours of July 8.
The boy was finally tracked down by the LoJack device in the stolen Land Cruiser he was driving and not by the GPS monitoring device strapped to his ankle, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The ankle bracelet was for earlier armed robbery charges.
As JJIE reported last September, Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice has been using ankle monitors for years. According to Scheree Moore, the department’s director of communications, the ankle monitors are an alternative to incarceration meant to help the young person. Monitoring may be paired with in-home counseling or other wraparound services.
But in 2009, the AJC found significant delays in responding to alerts from the monitors. The ankle bracelets are tracked by independent contractors who may not keep tabs on them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the event a juvenile violates their probation it may take several hours for a judge to issue a warrant for their arrest.
According to Jeff Fox of the Henry County Juvenile Court’s Probation Department, response time varies.
“Some reports don’t come through until the following day,” Fox said. “There are other reports that happen immediately.”
Fox said Henry County uses both a GPS monitoring bracelet, which tracks the child’s location, and a simple alert bracelet, which will only let authorities know the child left their home.
“There’s different kinds of restrictions,” he said, and it’s based on the child’s history and likelihood to run, as well as funds available to the court for monitoring.