It’s not easy to be on house arrest with an electronic monitoring device attached, says the Washington Post in a feature on convict Johnnie Whichard, who is doing it now. The electronic leash is fastened 24-7 to Whichard’s left ankle, a little waterproof black box with a transmitter inside, helping authorities to keep track of him. Even if he is not behind bars, Whichard is an inmate just the same, confined to a rented four-room duplex most hours when he’s not at work painting houses. Even on the job, he’s a prisoner, says the Post. “Can’t do this, can’t do that — a straitjacket of rules.”
Whichard, 32, says the jail terms he served over the years were easier in some ways than the electronically monitored probation he’s on now. That is is something Martha Stewart may realize soon, Whichard said, if she hasn’t already. She’s out of federal prison after five months and wearing an ankle transmitter 24-7, commuting from her country estate to her office in New York City, then home in the evenings, about 100 miles round trip. Her days, like Whichard’s, are governed by rigid itineraries preapproved by authorities, each day purposeful and all but devoid of whim and spontaneity, with the ankle gadget, phone calls, and on-site spot-checks helping to keep her in line.