To Some, Ankle Bracelets Are a Form of Imprisonment


The Daily Beast looks into the business and politics of electronic monitoring, which it suggests is the inevitable future of post-mass incarceration America. Home confinement based on GPS-enabled ankle bracelets is used as an alternative to imprisonment, as a condition of parole or as a pre-trial measure. Two companies have cornered the market on electronic monitoring: BI Inc. and 3M. BI is a subsidiary of Geo Group, the second-largest private prison company in the world after CCA. Those firms made political news recently when Hillary Clinton announced she would stop accepting their campaign donations.

James Kilgore, who writes about mass incarceration and authored a newly released report, “Electronic Monitoring Is Not the Answer,” says ankle bracelets are preferable to a prison cell but are nonetheless an intrusive form of control. The argument for the use of electronic monitoring is that it allows low-level offenders to do their time without the added dangers of a toxic prison environment. In theory, it allows offenders to work, be with their families, access services and be productive citizens, in the meantime placing far less of a burden on taxpayers, but inhibits them from leaving the house for recreation.

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