Pa. Testing Sex Offender Computer Monitoring System

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Pennsylvania has started a pilot program to monitor the computer activity of sex offenders who are under parole supervision.

In a new release, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole Chairman Michael C. Potteiger Wednesday announced the program with Securus software. The program will alert parole agents when a sex offender may be engaging in appropriate behavior.

“The technology monitors words and phrases, both online and offline, on an offender’s home computer, captures a screen image, creates a log of all websites visited and saves this information on a central server,” said Potteiger.

Currently, offenders are not allowed computer use or agents must physically go onto the offender’s computer to review Internet usage. With the new software, agents will be able log into a server and view screen shots of emails, chat rooms, games and social media sites. They can also review websites that have been accessed as well as programs that have been installed.

“The new software is designed to send the board alerts about behavior that may indicate a risk to re-offend,” Potteiger explained. “The software provides for a more effective use of a parole agent’s time through remote access of information that is automatically gathered through electronic means.”

The pilot program will include 20 to 30 sex offenders over a period of six months in the board’s Pittsburgh District Office.

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