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Voice of the Monitored

Keeping an eye on the monitors

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private prisons

G4S Admits to $38m fraud in UK Electronic Monitoring Scheme

g4s-protestG4S which likes to market itself as the “world’s  leading security company” admitted yesterday to defrauding the UK government of about $38 million (24m pounds) in overcharges for electronic monitoring fees. The overcharging, which included billing for the monitoring of people who were deceased or had been sent back to prison. The admission comes after the company commissioned the law firm of Linklater to do a review of their electronic monitoring contracts. In a stunning comment in response to the review’s findings of overcharging and charging of people who had long since been taken off monitoring a company statement said G4S had : “wrongly considered itself to be contractually entitled to bill for monitoring services when equipment had not been fitted or after it had been removed.”  In other words, the world’s largest security company doesn’t understand the idea that a firm is not entitled to collect revenue for services it is not providing.

The G4S case will come before a parliamentary committee this week. The company will be joined by Serco another provider of monitoring services in the United Kingdom. This is not the only scandal brewing in the ranks of  G4S. Just last month, a South African Minister of Corrections took over a 2,900 bed private prison run by G4S in the country’s Free State province. An independent study had uncovered systematic abuse of prisoners, including forced administration of psychotropic medications and regular usage of electroshock to discipline men living in the facility. Earlier in the year the company lost bids for  security contracts at two British universities when students protested over G4S involvement in providing security for Israeli border control and settlements.

To read the Guardian report on the G4S electronic monitoring case go to: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/nov/19/g4s-admits-overcharging-ministry-of-justice-tagging

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FAU President Resigns

GEO stadium picIn what is a first for those campaigning against private corrections companies, the President of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Mary Jane Saunders has resigned. While she was embroiled in a number of controversies, the major issue for Saunders was the GEO Group stadium fiasco. Under Saunders’ watch FAU granted naming rights for its football stadium to the GEO Group, the country’s second largest private prison owner and LARGEST SUPPLIER OF ELECTRONIC MONITORING TECHNOLOGY AND SUPPORT. The naming rights came as a result of a six million dollar donation to FAU by GEO. However, a campaign initiated by students of the college which eventually drew national support, forced GEO to withdraw its name and funding. So a venture that George Zoley, the CEO of GEO, had once called the “finest example of community outreach our company has activated in its history,” backfired and now cost Saunders her job.  If only the scandals in GEO-run prisons and its excessive advocacy work to promote expanded use of electronic monitoring drew such instant results as the football stadium debacle.

New Article on Electronic Monitoring and Penal Excess in the UK

Click here to read this insightful analysis by Mike Nellis.

Welcome to Voice of the Monitored

Welcome to Voice of the Monitored, a website dedicated to waking people up to the realities of electronic monitoring in the US criminal justice system. Every day about 200,000 people face their day wearing an ankle bracelet. But with prison overcrowding and rising state budget deficits, those numbers will grow. Electronic monitoring is the wave of the future. It’s time for everyone to find out more about this-to make sure it doesn’t become a technological ball and chain. Here’s some links to begin to help you to know what’s up:

Link to the web page of Robert Gable, inventor of electronic monitoring who wanted it to be used as a way to send positive information, not increase surveillance and control. Read about how he feels betrayed by the way monitoring is used today:

http://rgable.wordpress.com/electronic-monitoring-of-criminal-offenders/

Is electronic monitoring an alternative to incarceration or a technological ball and chain?

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/30/the-rise-of-electronic-monitoring-in-criminal-justice/

Is the rise of electronic monitoring the result of the failure of our prison system? Graeme Wood of The Atlantic magazine thinks so. Read his story here:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/09/prison-without-walls/308195/

Read the story of big money in electronic monitoring: the $372 million contract BI Incorporated, now owned by private prisons firm the GEO group, signed with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to supervise 27,000 immigrants awaiting court decisions.

http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2010/03/16/who-profits-ices-electronic-monitoring-anklets-0

Should high school students with records of truancy be put on electronic monitors? Some schools in Dallas think so. Read about it at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/12/education/12dallas.html

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