ELECTRONIC PRISONS: The Operation of Ankle Monitoring in the Criminal Legal System

55 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2021

See all articles by Kate Weisburd

Kate Weisburd

George Washington Law School

Varun Bhadha

George Washington Law School, Students

Matthew Clauson

George Washington Law School, Students

Jeanmarie Elican

George Washington Law School, Students

Fatima Kahn

George Washington Law School, Students

Kendall Lawrenz

George Washington Law School, Students

Brooke Pemberton

George Washington Law School, Students

Rebecca Ringler

George Washington Law School, Students

Jordan Schaer

George Washington Law School, Students

Mikayla Sherman

George Washington Law School, Students

Sarah Wohlsdorf

George Washington Law School, Students

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

The use of surveillance technology to tag and track people on pretrial release, probation and parole is on the rise. The COVID-19 crisis in prisons and jails, bail reform efforts and bipartisan support for curbing mass incarceration accelerated interest in purported alternatives to incarceration. As a result, the use electronic monitoring devices, including GPS-equipped ankle monitors, went up dramatically.

Thanks to the leadership of community organizers and advocates, the harmful and racialized nature of this type of carceral surveillance has been exposed. This report seeks to add to those efforts by examining the specific policies, procedures, contracts and rules that govern the use of electronic monitoring of people on probation, parole and pretrial release. Drawing on over 247 records from 101 agencies across 44 states and the District of Columbia, this report focuses on the operation of electronic monitoring. The report reveals the degree to which monitoring rules and policies restrict movement, limit privacy, undermine family and social relationships, extract wealth and result in repeated loss of freedom. Unlike traditional models of probation and parole, electronic surveillance is more intensive, restrictive and dependent on private surveillance companies that are driven by profit motive. The findings in this report demonstrate what advocates have long said: Electronic surveillance is not an alternative to incarceration, it’s an alternative form of incarceration. And like incarceration, the deprivations and restrictions of electronic monitoring further entrench race and class-based subordination.

Suggested Citation

Weisburd, Kate and Bhadha, Varun and Clauson, Matthew and Elican, Jeanmarie and Kahn, Fatima and Lawrenz, Kendall and Pemberton, Brooke and Ringler, Rebecca and Schaer, Jordan and Sherman, Mikayla and Wohlsdorf, Sarah, ELECTRONIC PRISONS: The Operation of Ankle Monitoring in the Criminal Legal System (2021). GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2021-41, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2021-41, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3930296

Kate Weisburd (Contact Author)

George Washington Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
2029940946 (Phone)

Varun Bhadha

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Matthew Clauson

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Jeanmarie Elican

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Fatima Kahn

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Kendall Lawrenz

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Brooke Pemberton

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Rebecca Ringler

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Jordan Schaer

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Mikayla Sherman

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Sarah Wohlsdorf

George Washington Law School, Students

2000 H ST NW
Washington, DC

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
533
Abstract Views
1,949
Rank
98,639
PlumX Metrics