In the end, that’s exactly what happened: He was arrested on the Cape and sentenced to a year in prison, according to Polin.
“The little jingle, it wasn’t that good, but it was funny, to say the least,” said Polin.
The use of social media is taking off in the field of community corrections, said Art Bowker, a cybercrime specialist with the US Pretrial Services and Probation Office of the Northern District of Ohio and author of “The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections: Managing Offender Risk in the 21st Century.”
But he added that more training, protocols, and standards are needed. Bowker serves on the technology committee for the American Probation and Parole Association, and “that’s one of the things we’re working on.”
Other technologies have also made an impact on probation work.
The state Probation Department’s new GPS monitoring system has a feature that allows police and probation officers to determine whether a probationer was in the vicinity of a crime scene.
Illegal activity on computers is another area of concern.
“Criminals have become pretty wise with technology,” said Paul Keefe, the assistant chief probation officer for Norfolk County Juvenile Court. Whenever the court wants an offender’s computer activity to be monitored, “you have to have an understanding of the technology.”
Landry, the Quincy District Court probation officer, uses software called Field Search to monitor offenders’ computer activities.
Field Search can be stored on a thumb-sized flash drive. Probation officers plug the drive into a computer and it searches for suspicious activity. It’s typically used to search sex offenders’ computers, but “you can use the software to search for anything,” said Landry. “You can set it up so it searches for certain words.”
Landry recently put his expertise to use in a case involving a 25-year-old sex offender from Weymouth who tried to view illicit material on his smartphone.
When Landry asked to look at the offender’s phone, the offender said he left it in his car. When they walked out to the car, the offender told Landry he may have left it at home.
Eventually, they found the phone in his car. Landry checked the phone’s history and discovered “a number of child pornography sites” and e-mail messages containing illicit material.
As a result, the offender had to return to court for a detention hearing, and was ultimately sentenced to prison.