BOULDER, Colo. — With jail and prison systems overcrowded across the country, Boulder-based company BI Inc. is in the business of providing alternatives to incarceration.
Specializing in GPS and radio tracking for parolees, probationers and pre-trial defendants, BI focuses on providing equipment that allows non-violent offenders to stay out of jail, but still under the watch of local authorities. For example, DUI arrestees can receive constant monitoring and sobriety tests without having to go to jail.
“That person continues to be viable by having a job, paying taxes and remaining in the community,” said Bruce Thacher, CEO of BI Inc.
The devices are about the size of a pager and are strapped to one’s ankle with tampering detectors. The most accurate units can track people down to about a 10-foot circle in near-real time. Future devices may be able to check alcohol levels from perspiration.
BI was founded in Boulder in 1978 originally as a cattle-monitoring service, but shifted its technology to defendant tracking from the urging of a local judge. Today, the 30-year-old company has expanded its services to correctional agencies across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and Australia.