Criminal Justice Offender Tracking System Standard, NIJ Standard-1004.00

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Scope of the Standard

The offender tracking system standard defines minimum performance requirements and test methods for location and tracking systems used by law enforcement and correction officers to monitor and communicate the whereabouts of offenders within the community.

The standard covers not just a single component (e.g., the electronic device that tracks an individual sometimes referred to as the ‘ankle bracelet’) but rather the entire system, including support systems for signals carrying GPS, the monitoring center, communication between the tracking device and the monitoring center, and information systems to handle the data.

Needs of the Field

Developing an offender tracking system standard was identified as a high-priority technology need by the NIJ-sponsored Community Corrections Technology Working Group. Such systems have been on the market for almost two decades, but no guidelines exist for their development or procurement. As a result, there is a great deal of variation in the capabilities of the systems being sold to agencies involved in community corrections. The differences and variations make it difficult for agencies to decide which systems best meet their needs. The minimum performance requirements for offender tracking systems will help ensure that the equipment meets agencies’ needs.


  • Practitioners: Help corrections officials make wise purchasing decisions knowing that products that meet the NIJ standards return reliable location information regardless of the conditions under which they are used.
  • Communities: Improve community safety by helping to ensure  the reliability and integrity of the systems used to monitor offenders under community supervision.
  • Offenders: Establish criteria for devices to provide safe fit and comfort, maintain operation under vigorous conditions, and provide reliable and timely alerts in the event of tampering and circumvention
  • Industry: Better convey to industry the needs and requirements of the practitioner; inform the design and manufacture of future tracking systems.

Validation Testing

Developing an offender tracking system standard is a novel undertaking in that it requires a number of new testing methods that may have never been executed by test laboratories. This requires:

  • Validating new test methods called for in the standard.
  • Developing an estimate of how much it will cost a manufacturer to submit a product to a test laboratory for initial certification.
  • A comprehensive review and cost estimate of the overall test process will ensure that the standard poses no undue cost to corrections professional.

Who is Involved

  • National Institute of Justice
  • The Special Technical Committee, which writes the standard and includes community corrections professionals, technologists and researchers. Learn more about the role of the Special Technical Committee.
  • The Advisory Working Group, which reviews the standard and includes professional associations, such as the American Corrections Society, American Parole and Probation Association and the American Jail Association, as well as other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Telecommunication and Information Administration.
  • The public, which was provided an initial opportunity to comment on the draft standard and related documents in June 2012. A second period for public comment was open from December 10, 2013 to January 9, 2014. 

Role of Industry

NIJ held a vendor workshop and continues to communicate with vendors on the status of the standard. NIJ also receives feedback from vendors during the public comment period.


 The initial document, Criminal Justice Offender Tracking System Standard NIJ Standard-1004.00, was released in July 2016. Two additional documents will be produced:  the conformity and assessment requirements and a selection and application guide.

Point of Contact

Name: Jack Harne
Phone: 202-616-2911

Date Modified: July 13, 2016