During the pandemic, officials have prioritized lowering incarceration rates because jails and prisons have become COVID-19 hot spots. To that end, crime has still ravaged cities, so judges nationwide have responded by releasing individuals with electronic ankle monitors designed to track their movements all hours of the day as an alternative to bail while they await trials. Interviews with individuals who have been incarcerated and then placed on ankle monitors, as well as recidivism and surveillance devices research conclude that the devices designed to give people more freedoms actually puts them deeper entrenched with the justice system — mainly because of technical violations. MediaJustice Fellow and director of the Challenging E-Carceration Project, James Kilgore, on why electronic monitoring isn’t an alternative to mass incarceration, it’s an expansion of it.
“Ankle monitors can be so expensive that some people in the system must choose between paying rent or their electronic monitor fees…We’re not putting resources into their communities to address the issues of violence, to address the issues of unemployment and poverty and structural racism. Instead we’re going to slap this thing on them so we can track them, and we can keep them locked up in their house.”James Kilgore via The Crime Report