This site focuses on electronic monitoring in the criminal justice system. Each day about 200,000 people in the U.S. wake up with an ankle bracelet strapped to their leg because of some encounter with the criminal justice system. This site will be about their experience and the ways in which electronic monitoring is becoming an essential part of criminal justice in the U.S. and other parts of the world. While nearly everyone agrees they would rather be on an ankle bracelet than be incarcerated, we also need to monitor the monitoring programs. That is the purpose of this blog. At the moment we will focus on two issues:
1) Problems People On Monitoring Face on a Daily Basis
Many people on monitoring systems experience enormous problems which block them from putting their lives back together. These problems include:
- difficulty in getting “movement” from the house to look for employment or participate in family activities
- excessive daily charges for being monitored (typically $5-$10 a day but in some cases more)
- being sent back to prison or jail for minor infractions like getting home from work late
- being harassed or even sent back to prison or jail due to technical malfunctions of the monitoring system
- becoming an excessive financial and psychological burden on family members because of the restrictions of electronic monitoring
- the absence in most jurisdictions of any clear cut guidelines which spell out the rights of the person on monitoring or any avenues of appeal should they be denied movement unfairly.
People on monitoring need a clear cut set of rights and avenues of appeal if they are treated unfairly.
2) Problems with the “Business” of Monitoring
The GEO Group, the second largest private corrections company in the U.S. also owns BI Incorporated, the largest provider of electronic monitoring devices and services in the country. Private firms maximize profit by putting as many people as possible on electronic monitoring and keeping them there for as long as possible. This is a conflict of interest that can have serious effects on peoples’ lives.
Companies should not have profit incentives linked to keeping more people on monitors for a longer period of time.