The most common configuration is a radio-frequency transmitter unit that sends a signal to a fixed location receiving unit in the offender's residence. The residence unit uses either a land line or a cellular network to relay information to a service center computer. If the offender is not at the residence at times stipulated, an alert message is sent to the service center, and then relayed to the supervising probation or parole officer. GPS units are similar in design, but the offender also carries a GPS cell phone unit that receives a signal from the ankle unit, or both functions may be combined into one ankle unit.
Electronic monitoring was originally developed by a small group of researchers at Harvard University in the 1960s, headed by R. Kirkland Schwitzgebel and his twin brother, Robert Schwitzgebel. In 1983, Judge Jack Love in Albuquerque, New Mexico, initiated the first judicially sanctioned program using monitoring devices. These were produced by Michael T. Goss, a former Honeywell computer sales representative. Shortly thereafter, programs began in Florida using a cuff invented by Thomas Moody. Within six years, at least 16 manufacturers were listed in the Journal of Offender Monitoring. In 2007, an estimated 130,000 units were deployed daily in the United States. They also gained popularity in the United Kingdom, but adoption in the EU has been slower.
The effectiveness of monitoring in reducing crime is uncertain. There is probably a reduction of criminal behavior while the offender is actually being monitored. . However, a thorough and comprehensive review of research literature indicated that, over a period of three years, monitoring did not reduce crime more than other prison diversion programs. The inventors, Kirkland and Robert Gable, who are now emeritus Professors of Psychology at California Lutheran University and the Claremont Graduate University, have been strongly advocating the use of positive incentives in monitoring programs.
The SCRAM bracelet is capable of monitoring alcohol consumption in individuals. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration produced a favorable report on the use of electronic monitoring of DUI offenders, with lower recidivism rates and less cost compared to jail.
Custody cases require creative controls; In international situations, inventive tactics like a boy's ankle monitor may assure compliance.(NEWS)
Aug 03, 2002; Byline: H.J. Cummins; Staff Writer Ankle monitors are a new one on John Crouch, a Virginia family-law attorney who specializes in...