New York

Key Highlight: 2019 pretrial legislation opens door to EM


  • Topeka K. Sam:Topeka K. Sam described her two months on a monitor after serving time in federal prison.
  • Megan French-Marcelin:Activist Megan French-Marcelin discussed her efforts to fight electronic monitoring.

Pretrial/EM and the Law

Although New York City historically has not used pretrial electronic monitoring, there is concern that changes in bail legislation in 2019 would open the door to the spread of EM in New York City and other parts of the state. However, the new legislation contained a clause mandating that any monitoring would have to be run by a public or nonprofit entity, not a private company. According to several reports, there were no public or nonprofit entities involved in EM operations. Authorities then changed their minds in December 2019 and began allowing companies to contract for the devices.New York City contracted Israel-based Attenti to run its pretrial EM.


Advocacy groups like Survived and Punished offered serious critiques of New York bail reform legislation, arguing it would lead to an increase in mass supervision and electronic monitoring. They call EM “another form of incarceration that expands the capacity of the carceral system to surveil and control people in their homes.” Activists from the upstate anti-jail coalition, Justice and Unity for the Southern Tier (JUST) made similar arguments in opposition to EM.


The National Bail Fund Network , headquartered in New York, brings together more than 80 community bond and bail funds across the country to fight against cash bail and pretrial detention. They have been staunch opponents of pretrial electronic monitoring and all forms of surveillance.

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