Now the state is closing a deal to use global positioning systems, or GPS, to monitor prisoners on work release.
Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Clausius says the state is negotiating with GPS manufacturer Pro Tech Monitoring of Florida. An agreement could be finalized within a month.
Sheriffs' departments in Dane and Fond du Lac counties are already using the technology to ease jail crowding. About 40 nonviolent criminals in each jurisdiction have been assigned GPS monitors.
The GPS device is carried in a fanny pack and has an antenna, signal receiver and modem for transmitting data of the user's whereabouts.
The user also wears a metal ankle bracelet, which alerts authorities if the GPS device is altered or removed.