National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

GPS Tracking

The following blog entry was written by Cherry Simpson, mother of domestic violence survivor Regan Martin. For more information about her story click here.

Other links of interest:
Cindy Bischof Foundation 
GPS News and Media Harvard Law Professor Diane Rosenfeld

In May 2006 my daughter was handcuffed, raped and beaten by her husband – he confessed and was still allowed to plea out of the sex crime status. He got 3 yrs 9 months and served 19 months. We knew he would do it again upon his release. He stalked my daughter from prison. We were told from day one you’ll never get a GPS put on him. Well we did.

I personally credit the GPS monitor for keeping my daughter and grandchildren alive. I found out about it by looking on The convicts hate it because they have no legal recourse to have them removed once they’re placed on them by DOC and in fact many speak about it providing evidence used against them. I had read about the death of Cindy Bischof and the law which was passed in IL but it wasn’t going into effect until Jan 2009 and the court didn’t have the funds or the man power to order them or to monitor them at the time. So I did what was logical and contacted IDOC, the PRB and parole. I sent them copies of Regan’s abuser’s arrests and criminal record as well as proof of his continued stalking.

I knew DOC had GPS for sex offenders, so I appealed to them on the basis that he was a sex offender. He had also continued to stalk my daughter from prison and we reported that to the prison and PRB and filed charges with the DA.

I had heard that Harvard Law Professor Diane Rosenfeld worked with the Cindy Bischof Foundation and I wrote them asking for their support. Professor Rosenfeld wrote the lethality assessment for my daughter and got her a pro-bono attorney. to represent her victim rights in court. I thank God for women like Professor Rosenfeld and Attorney Rachel Morse who work in the law, their presence in the justice system is helping to change the Law to reflect reality.

My daughter’s case was written about in the Chicago Tribune. In the story my daughters abuser talks about cutting it off and being able to get to her in 5 minutes. But he didn’t.

The GPS has a 100% success rate in keeping women alive. We wanted an effective legal guarantee of personal-security for my daughter and her children. I think it’s a wonderful tool and will not only help save lives but prevents crime and helps to prosecute crime. We all have GPS on our phones and now we’ve got a microchip being put on our USPS postage stamps because of anthrax and congress. They already use them on sex offenders DOC has them and have monitored them and used the data to prosecute perpetrators. I believe it is inevitable we will all see them utilized soon. Congress wants to live too.

I also think the GPS is important for womens human rights. Too many women are dying from domestic violence. I personally find it very disingenuous that any domestic violence coalition wouldn’t want it. It saves lives. It shouldn’t be about money, it should be about saving womens lives. The rate prisoners are being released early we all need this crime deterrent tool.

Women are being blamed for getting themselves beat and raped by men they know and then chastised for not liking them afterwards. We need the state to recognize that women are violated because we are women (a form of unequal treatment which needs legal teeth) the GPS helps do exactly that and more.

The problems I hear about have been about state lines but according to the VAWA and the Full Faith and Credit Laws it should not be a problem. We have asked PRB upon my daughter’s abuser’s new release that he be given a GPS monitor just like the last time (he was just put back into prison for the 3rd and 4th violation of OP). The Attorney General of Illinois has assured me he will have it put on him. We received a letter from IDOC told my daughter she would qualify for the GPS under the new Cindy Bischof Law.

I already have the proof it works to save lives…my daughter and grandchildren LIVE with us now.


Cherry Simpson

10 replies
  1. Randi Rosen says:

    GPS Technology with respect to protection orders and domestic violence is gaining momentum. There is documented proof that it does work. However, it’s the law makers and legislators that are keeping GPS tracker use with offenders of domestic violence in California far from reach. Our organization, Survivors In Action and Women’s Legal Resource joined Assembly member and Majority Leader, Alberto Torrico assembly bill 1081 which would mandate the use of GPS trackers for violent offenders in California. Please see the press release at

    The bill has passed the Judiciary Committee, however, The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence opposes this bill and the CPEDV has a strong voice in what legislation passes with respect to domestic violence. I feel this organization will hinder the bill being made into a law.

    Protection orders are violated to the point where law enforcement often states that “it’s hard to prove the offender was in violation.” With GPS tracking, if the offender violates a protection order, law enforcement is notified instantaneously and the offender is apprehended. The cost of bracelet is minimal and the CPEDV claims its an invasion of privacy of the offender and would not be cost effective.

    Isn’t the CPEDV for the victims of domestic violence, why is there so much concern for the offender’s rights? What rights do they have when a woman is murdered?

    Randi Rosen
    Vice President
    Survivors In Action, Inc.

  2. Randi Rosen says:

    Our organization, Survivors In Action, Inc. and Women’s Legal Resource joined Assemblyman and Majority Leader, Alberto Torrico’s bill 1081 which would mandate the use of GPS trackers on domestic violence offenders. However, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence opposes this bill. The bill passed the Judiciary Committee but if the CPEDV continues to oppose important legislation in support of new domestic violence laws, victims in California will not be protected. Protection orders are violated with law enforcement often explaining to the victim that there is no proof it was the offender. With GPS, if the offender violates the order, law enforcement are notified instantaneously, and the offender is apprehended. Why on earth would the CPEDV oppose it.

    The cost of the unit is minimal per day and considering the lives it will save, is priceless. According to the CPEDV, the tracker violates privacy laws for the offender.

    The offender rights. I was under the impression that the CPEDV advocates for the victims of dv, not the offenders.

    Randi Rosen
    Vice President
    Survivors In Action, Inc.

  3. Claudia FitzHenry says:

    Hi Cherry, I am so glad this is turning out better than you were hopeful a few months ago. My best to you and your family. I continue to pray for you all.

    Sincerely, In friendship,

  4. CAROL says:

    Hi. One of the personality characteristics that I have noticed in abusive people is that they do not seem to realize, nor acknowledge (or want to acknowledge) that their own self is at fault, or needs help. They have a tendency to believe that “it’s [the victim’s] fault.”, They scapegoat and project.

    Keep being proactive. Keep your critical thinking skills sharp; and keep your perception correct. Do not let abuse infect you. Sometimes I have had to say, ” Your behavior is unacceptable. Just because you’re forcing me to endure it, doesn’t mean anyone tolerates it. “

  5. Jean Wojcik says:

    The company that I represent has a silent alarm system that can be worn on your person
    either as a watch or a pendant or on a belt clip. When depressed it can notify local law enforcement, your neighbor or a designated other after 60 seconds that help is needed.
    You don’t have to go to the phone and wait for the operator and state your situation . You just have to press a button and help is on its way. This system is monitored 24/7 and is very reasonably priced. Its lightweight and no one will even know your wearing it unless you tell them.

  6. Cherry Simpson says:

    How many of us use a GPS like Tom-Tom or Garmin in our cars. I can get GPS on my cell phone for $4.99 a month. Principally isn’t it mostly software driven? Why are the reported cost for GPS so inflated? Even our TV is now all digital – we depend a lot on technology in our everyday life. How about updating crime fighting?!

    I’ve heard a few nay-sayers complain the GPS gives a false sense of security. It’s a much better sense of security than the piece of paper called an order of protection. (OP – an untruthful name – a better name would be PSA – please stay away). Don’t women and children and the general public at large deserve legal guarantees of personal-security?

  7. Cherry Simpson says:

    I wanted to let everyone know my source for the smart stamps:

    ‘Smart stamps’ next in war on terrorism – Tracking your letters with microchip stamps

    Beginning with bulk or commercial mail, the Postal Service will require “enhanced sender identification” for all discount-rate mailings, according to the notice published in the Oct. 21, 2003 Federal Register. The purpose of identifying senders is to provide a more efficient tracking system, but more importantly, to “facilitate investigations into the origin of suspicious mail.” -Washington Times

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