• Report: #794800

Complaint Review: Sentinel Offender Services

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  • Submitted: Thu, November 03, 2011
  • Updated: Tue, November 06, 2012

  • Reported By: Michele — College Station Texas United States of America
Sentinel Offender Services
220 Technology Dr # 200 Irvine, California United States of America

Sentinel Offender Services Wrongful imprisonment, malfunctioning GPS monitor Irvine, California

*General Comment: Machines are always right. Right?

*Consumer Comment: The monitor wins.

*Author of original report: No fault of his own.

*Consumer Comment: No fault of his own?

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My boyfriend was placed on GPS monitor (for house arrest) which was made by sentinel offender services. He paid many hundreds of dollars for this service, (the alternative was jail) and did not ever leave the house except for to go to work. The company accused him of leaving the house and had evidence of his GPS signal leaving our house. However during the time period when he allegedly left, I was there and know that he was home the whole time.

The company refused to give over the full electronic records to the court even after the judge's subpoena, They only gave over some of the evidence and since I know he was home the whole time I am sure that more evidence which they did not disclose would prove his innocence. Since he "did not comply" with the monitor company, the judge sentenced him to 60 days in jail, which would have been his original sentence even after he already completed the ankle monitor program.

The GPS signal obviously malfunctioned and it is a travesty of justice that he paid for the services and was then thrown in jail based on incomplete evidence. No one considering going on ankle monitor should ever do it with a GPS monitor manufactured by sentinel. Even though it was admitted by the company that sometimes metal buildings (we live in an RV) can interfere with the signal, the case manager still insisted that he was without a doubt guilty of a violation.

It is imperative that the validity of the GPS monitor as a method of monitoring should be verified by someone other than within the company that manufactures it. It is very unfortunate that this has occurred, because my boyfriend, through no fault of his own has now lost his job because of his being in jail. Our lawyer said that there is nothing more we can do, but I believe that justice can be served if someone is willing to go the distance and actually stand up for what is right.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/03/2011 12:03 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Sentinel-Offender-Services/Irvine-California-92618-2424/Sentinel-Offender-Services-Wrongful-imprisonment-malfunctioning-GPS-monitor-Irvine-Cali-794800. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 3Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

Machines are always right. Right?

AUTHOR: Customer Satisfaction Vs You - (United States of America)

Let me start this off by saying i understand that i am responding to a 12 month old post

But i dont really care

let me also say that i am one of those BAD  people that do BAD things lol well shame on me

I am currently under house arrest or rather "Home Detention" and let me tell you calling it that makes it all better

i read through the original post because it interested me but as far as the replies honestly i skimmed through them they seemed to be riddled with comments about that particular offender and the choices he had made and the choices his girl friend made and blah blah blah none of this really matters here does it folks

i'm here to talk about those mysterious machines that unlike every other piece of electronics ever created have never had one fault

or so the well lets call them authority figures would have us believe

i am honestly not surprised to see that the original poster has taken to the internet with her resentment of this particular product because i too have had a problem

now mine is not exactly the same but it may yield the same results

i have an ankle bracelet that i have been wearing for quite some time now and it prevents me from leaving my home except for a weekly pee test a grocery run and a bi weekly mandatory Alcohol offender counseling session

in addition to being confined to my home i am required to take a alcohol screening test about once every hour and a half

this courtesy of a breathalyzer made by of course sentinal offender services

now i'm sure your saying who cares you did it to yourself deal with it

and your right and i am dealing with it

i am extremely happy that i do not have to spend my entire sentence in county lockup

i understand that Home Detention is much more comfortable and seemingly less expensive

i even found the forced sobriety to be a welcome change in my life that i had not expected

here is where i found my problem

while going about my daily routine this morning

making sure to stay in earshot of the alarm on my breathalyzer i was alerted that i needed to give a breath sample by the customary skull splitting car alarm noise it makes 

i promptly started for the machine only to be surprised when the noise abruptly stopped much sooner than was expected now this had happened a few times in the past and i just assumed it was a cheaply made piece of crap and things like that were bound to happen 

normally if i do not made it to the machine in time for whatever reason

it is random mind you i simply wait a minute or so and the alarm will sound again and the light in the press start button will come on again and i simply go about the short task of blowing into the provided straw while a might i say very tasteful photo is taken of my beautiful mug to prove that in fact it is me participating in this particular sample collection event

and that i am in no way trying to "cheat"

but this time the alarm did not come back on however the light in the press start button was lit so i did what every good instruction following moron would do and i pushed the li'l fucker

this turned out to be a mistake as the machine would not accept my sample in fact even with its test initiated and the customary beeping and "blow" button lit up and my constant blowing it failed to register a start to the test which is normally indicated by a small red light flashing in the upper corner

i tried again and again to give it what it said it wanted but to no avail

soon after i stopped the machine went silent and the lights went out i waited patiently for what i assumed would be a reset of some sort and a re-test but the test never came

i left the machine rather confused and a little bit worried that the speaker for the alarm may have gone out and that i would subsequently miss any upcoming tests

this worried me greatly because i had been told that a missed test would be considered a positive test and that super duper consequences would rain from the heavens and i would be sent to jail for the remainder of my sentence

i was however greeted with the familiar shreak 20 min later and i gave up my sample had my picture taken and all seemed right with the world once again

i returned to what has become one of my favorite activities making waffles (damn i love waffles) only to hear the alarm once again

i returned blew in the tube and resisted the urge to flip the camera the bird

as i went back to my golden brown belgian goodness i began wondering was the machine simply making up for the botched test or had it developed a hatred for me and the delicious waffles that i never offered to share

i quickly put the thought out of my mind as that seemed crazy and of course i have been without human interaction for some time and am perhaps quite crazy

but my theory was quickly thrust back into the front of my brain when i again heard the devilish shreeking come from that evil little machine

i repeated the process as before this time giving the dull plastic box a few choice words as i walked away

i remained close finding it less enjoyable to devor waffles while waiting for what i was sure was the inevitable alarm to sound again 

i was not disappointed 

this uncustomary pattern continued until around noon or so when i was finally treated to the normal hour or so break between tests 

here is where the real fun starts

while watching an exceptionally bad vin diesel movie called strays (i dont recommend it) i saw a car pull up to the front of my house i immediately recognized it as belonging to the man who as far as i know monitors this home detention system

i had met him before when i first began my sentence he ran me through general working of the machines and how to follow the rules and such

this visit however was not so great

he informed me that i had been testing positive for alcohol all morning and he was there like the great hammer of thor to dispense punishment

let me stop here and make it clear that i have not ingested any alcohol or any products containing even the slightest amount of alcohol since my home detention began

i also did not change my diet habits or anything else

i informed him of this and explained my morning and my less than ideal interaction with the machine

he promptly gave me a test using a handheld breathalyzer that he had brought with him and i registered absolute zero

this eased my mind and i thought perhaps i could exchange machines or some repair or test could be done on the one that i had 

but to my dismay all that i was told is that i would be receiving a "pass" on this violation and not to do it again

this is where i am left now

even tho i am following the rules to the letter and not consuming any alcohol i am in a constant state of panic that the machine will simply freak out and send in positive tests at its own evil little discretion

and of course as was my original point the results and feedback from these machines will be taken as gospel the offender will be punished accordingly

this is the problem with sentinal offender series machines 

as a side note the operator who receives these test results typically places a call to the offender and inquires as to the reason for the positive result and i assume asks for an explanation

i however did not receive such a call on either of my phone lines because the number on their file was incorrect this too was strange and new news to me as i have received multiple phone calls from this same operator over the course of my detention and have not personally changed my contact info

i was read the numbers that they did have in my file and i have since corrected them

while this does not directly affect how these machines operate and there apparent flaws it does make me wonder how the company behind them is being run

thank you for your time
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#2 Consumer Comment

The monitor wins.

AUTHOR: Robert - (USA)

As I see it, the court decided that YOUR ALIBI didn't hold against the monitoring device.  Your boyfriend's attorney told you there is nothing else to do.  The type of location errors you describe CAN happen, but they will happen very rarely and will occur SUDDENLY and then correct themselves as GPS reception conditions improve.

I suspect that not only did the monitoring device report that he was in an inappropriate location, but that it showed travel time to the inappropriate location-travel time/route would NOT be caused by what you're attempting to explain.  It seems to me that your attorney knows this and that is why he has dropped the matter.

Perhaps you should contact Lindsey Lohan's attorney-he seems to be doing a damn good job of keeping her out of jail and I'm sure he could do the same for your boyfriend.

FYI:  house arrest is a courtesy of the court and can be revoked at the whim of the court.  I suspect that your boyfriend either committed a serious crime or he is a repeat offender.  You might consider hitching your life to a different star.
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#3 Author of original report

No fault of his own.

AUTHOR: Michele - (United States of America)

I am not going to respond to elitist and insensitive comments. It is unfortunate that my boyfriend is in jail because he paid for the services of the sentinel monitoring company which indeed showed that he was not where he was supposed to be. I would not be filing a report unless I was certain that these records were incorrect. As I stated in the previous post, I was with him during the time that he was supposed to have been gone (And no the house did not move).

"An RV may block signals, but it won't put him someplace he is not" Actually, there are several ways that this could occur. Garmin, one of the major manufacturers of GPS in the United States reports several ways that errors in GPS location can occur on their website which I would have assumed would be well known to a company that deals with GPSs. Specifically relevant to this case is signal multipath which occurs when GPS signals are reflected off objects before it reaches the receiver. This will increase the signal travel time and cause errors.

Another cause of locational misrepresentation of a GPS signal is orbital errors which are caused by incaccuracies in the satellite's reported location. This can cause error in calculations due to the starting point (the satellite's location in space) being inaccurate. A similar source of error is satellite geometry which occurs when positions of satellites are located at more acute angles than is ideal to triangulate position.

The final and most likely explanation in the error associated with my boyfriend's position is the reduction of the number of satellites "visible" to the GPS receiver. Accuracy is better the more satellites a receiver can "see" and buildings, terrain, electronic interference and sometimes even dense foliage can block signal reception. This may result in no reading of position at all or errors in position. Weather phenomena can also cause similar reception issues and I would like to point out, not only do we live in an RV, but it is in an area with thick canopy cover (it is barely visible from google earth satellites), but it was also particularly foggy on the two days where extensive time periods went by that the GPS signal was detected a few miles away. There were other malfunctions like this that also occured but only on the order of a few minutes.

I agree that it is unfortunate that my boyfriend was convicted of a crime. However, it is also unfortunate that he paid for a service that malfunctioned, (he paid the full amount and served the full GPS monitor sentence time) and then was put in jail anyway. It is highly unlikely that Sentinel GPS models are not susceptible to the same types of malfunctions as other commercially used GPS systems. Only the government is allowed to acquire more accurate GPS devices for national security reasons. I am not looking to hurt the companies name. I am just looking for a way that this situation can be resolved. If not for my boyfriends sake, but for the sake of others who may be spared from these unfortunate circumstances.
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#4 Consumer Comment

No fault of his own?

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

It is very unfortunate that this has occurred, because my boyfriend, through no fault of his own has now lost his job because of his being in jail.
- Yes it is unfortunate that your boyfriend was arrested.  It is unfortunate that your boyfriend was charged with a crime.  It is unfortunate that he was found guilty in a court of law(or did a plea).  It is also unfortunate that he is in jail.  But you want to know what is more unfortunate.  The fact that you are blaming everybody but your boyfriend for his current living arrangements.

However, I doubt that a company has it "out" for your boyfriend that they are willing to ignore a subpoena, so I bet there is a lot more than you are not saying.

An RV may block signals, but it won't put him someplace he is not.  They did not violate him because they didn't get a reading from his GPS device, they violated him because the readings showed he was where he was not supposed to be.

If I was to guess I would say that he stayed in the RV for his "house arrest", but the "house" moved.
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