Electronic monitoring not widely used in Alberta
Electronic monitoring bracelets were introduced in Alberta just over two years ago but they have only been used for about a dozen high-risk offenders.
The bracelets, which use GPS to track an individual’s movements, are being used by only one of the 22 sex offenders currently being tracked by Edmonton Police.
Det. Chris Hayduk with the Behavioural Assessment Unit says it can be more useful to check up on offenders in person instead of solely relying on GPS.
"It only shows where people are and not what their activity is so we want to make sure that we’re not sitting just watching a computer screen and seeing that they're at some address," he said.
"It's important to see what they're doing when they're out and about."
Erin Gibbs van Brunschot, an associate professor in sociology at the University of Calgary, is studying the use of electronic monitoring as a tool for managing offenders.
While the bracelets are widely used in the United States, Gibbs van Brunschot says the technology is still relatively new to Canada.
"The whole idea has been to move slowly so that we might know what we're dealing with versus spending a whole bunch of money to find out that they might not be as effective as we had hoped," she said.
Gibbs Van Brunschot says that electronic monitoring programs can be very expensive to administer and that there hasn’t been much research into whether they are effective.
The three-year study is a partnership between the University of Calgary and the Alberta government and is scheduled to be completed by December.