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Voice of the Monitored

Keeping an eye on the monitors

Month

September 2012

South Carolina man gets five years in prison for not charging his monitor!!

This from the Newberry (South Carolina) Observer on September 10, 2012:

A Whitmire man was sentenced to time in general sessions court last week after not charging his electronic monitoring system.

Joe Nathan Neal, 42, of 1935 Drayton St., Newberry, pleaded guilty to willful violation of terms of electronic motoring.

He reportedly failed to charge his monitoring system after being told to do so by S.C. Probation, Pardon and Pardon agents.

Neal was sentenced to serve five years in prison for the offense.

If you don’t believe it, here is the link:

http://www.newberryobserver.com/view/full_story/20062456/article-Man-sentenced-in-electronic-monitoring-case?

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An ankle bracelet is not tres chic

In this article, “Get Out of Jail Unfree,”  William Saletan  notes that only the rich seem to get out on bail with electronic monitoring while the poor languish awaiting their fate. He says ankle bracelets have become tres chic, a sign of status.

He has a point. Sure Lindsay Lohan, Martha Stewart and Charley Sheen have worn the bracelet.  But Saletan also misses the point. A large number of people on monitoring are poor folks being monitored for no good reason. For many it is an addition onto a parole regime. Others get a monitor for driving without a license. Some juveniles (mostly African-Americans and Latinos)  are even getting monitors for excessive truancy.

And most of these people are being made to pay user fees-typically $5-15 a day, sometimes more. If you don’t pay you might end up back in jail, even if you don’t have a job.

Most of this has little to do with public safety. Ultimately, public safety is about encouraging people to live peacefully with one another. Stringent regimes of electronic monitoring do not do this. They limit peoples’ opportunity, confine them to the house, and promote frustration and failure. Nearly everyone would rather be on a leg monitor than in jail or prison, but we need to set the conditions of electronic monitoring so they facilitate rehabilitation and re-entry, not transfer the punishment of the jail cell to our living rooms and kitchens.

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