This report presents the findings and methodology of the U.S. Government Accountability Office's (GAO's) review of the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) approach for developing the standard for offender tracking systems (OTS).
The report examines the extent to which NIJ collaborated with stakeholders in developing the standard and whether the standard and guide address stakeholder needs and challenges. The review found that NIJ collaborated with a variety of criminal justice and technical experts in developing a draft standard for OTS; however, earlier involvement of manufacturers could have expedited its development by providing insights on OTS capabilities and limitations at the outset of its use in criminal justice practice. Coordination has improved since 2012, and manufacturers' major concerns have been addressed. NIJ's draft standard includes requirements for common operational and circumvention-detection needs. In addition, the draft guide provides information and guidance related to challenges identified by the criminal justice agencies with which GAO met, as well as other considerations for implementing an OTS program. These challenges include misconceptions among the public and victims that OTS allows agencies to prevent bad behavior before it happens; the development of appropriate protocols for responding to OTS alerts; and workload issues, such as whether there is sufficient staff or resources to respond to OTS alerts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also, in recognition of the range of agencies, resources, and objectives of offender tracking, the guide provides information and guidance, but does not offer "One size fits all" solutions to various OTS challenges. The GAO review interviewed stakeholders associated with a non-generalizable sample of 10 criminal justice agencies that use OTS. 2 tables and 8 figures