Magazine article The Futurist

Electronic Monitoring of Criminals

Magazine article The Futurist

Electronic Monitoring of Criminals

Article excerpt

The electronic monitoring of criminal offenders under house arrest has gained increasing attention as a possible way to reduce prison overcrowding while lowering costs. However, two criminologists believe its potential is overrated.

"The prevalent combination of house arrest and electronic monitoring is likely to be used where it is least needed, and ... for the large majority of those incarcerated it is largely irrelevant," write Bonnie Berry of Indiana University and Roger Matthews of Great Britain's Middlesex Polytechnic in Privatizing Criminal Justice, a recent collection of essays on criminology trends.

Electronic monitoring and house arrest are spreading rapidly in the United States. An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people are subject to some form of house arrest and electronic monitoring, and these programs have been adopted in over 30 states. Berry and Matthews predict that electronic monitoring and house arrest 'could become a pronounced feature of the criminal justice system in many countries in the very near future."

The most commonly used type of electronic monitoring involves a tamper-resistant bracelet worn by the offender and linked to a computer terminal. To ensure that the offender is obeying the restrictions of house arrest, the authorities telephone the offender, who then inserts the bracelet into a receiver. There are several restrictions regarding eligibility for such programs, note the authors. The offender needs a telephone, a home address, and in some cases money to pay for the use of the equipment. Violent offenders and those convicted of serious sexual offenses are normally excluded, and some programs avoid those convicted of serious property offenses. "In some cases,' say Berry and Matthews, "those convicted of drug or related offenses are not selected since house arrest might allow them to continue dealing in drugs from home. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.