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WSCA continues to seek proposals for Electronic Monitoring RFP

The Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) released a request for proposals (RFP) in early April for electronic monitoring of offenders. The RFP was released by the state of Washington on behalf of WSCA, and covers 12 additional states that submitted notices of intent to participate in the contract. The solicitation is slated to close on May 17, 2012, six weeks after its initial release.
For vendors not familiar with WSCA, contracts awarded under it act like statewide term contracts and allow participating states to purchase from vendor(s) on the contract without having to release their own solicitation. Some states provide information on their anticipated annual spending for components of the project, which in turn offers vendors a clearer view of their potential winnings. States may also have a requirement to spend a certain amount on any contract they sign, which also provides vendors a bit more certainty than they might otherwise have. That said, these contracts are often awarded to multiple vendors, and WSCA acts somewhat like a clearing house by offering a list of acceptable vendors to participating states. The list does not guarantee that any of the vendors will be used by the individual states; it is possible to win a WSCA contract and still not make any money off of it.
The WSCA RFP covers three potential requirements covered by electronic monitoring: radio frequency monitoring, alcohol monitoring, and GPS monitoring, all of which parallel categories covered by the current contract, which was signed in January 2002. G4S Justice Services, Inc., won that contract’s categories I and II, which cover continuous signaling electronic monitoring, a random/scheduled tracking system, and alcohol monitoring. Category III was awarded to Pro Tech Monitoring. 
Analyst’s Take
Given the extensive variety of electronic monitoring equipment, purchasing departments often spend an exorbitant amount of time and money putting together different solicitations to meet varying needs, such as one RFP for equipment with GPS capabilities, another for alcohol capabilities, etc. While states should certainly consider releasing a single RFP like that in the WSCA contract, it can also be expensive as it requires a significant amount of time spent evaluating each proposal for each technology.  
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