On the cruelty of ankle-monitors

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/06/open-prisons.html


I’m sure the cruelty is part of the reason that the QAnon nutters have made ankle monitors a central part of their loony narrative, attaching them to anyone they hate.


“Hidden cost”? What items in this life might you lose or damage without incurring a replacement cost?


[4m](On the cruelty of ankle-monitors

Ankle monitors are part of the campaign against refugees…while waiting to file for legal asylum, they are sometimes required to wear ankle monitors.


On the cruelty of ankle-monitors - #3 by anon27007144)

Your heart?


So we hear consistently how our jails have too many people who shouldn’t be there for having done something minor (especially minor drug infractions), and we need less people in prison.

Then there is this, a program clearly designed to provide some punishment and oversight on someone who broke the law, or is a flight risk while awaiting trial and such; and this is considered “cruel”?

Seems that maybe this is an imperfect program that needs fixing and updating for sure…but cruel? I don’t feel that is the right word.


and for some sex offenders, ankle-monitors are a lifelong obligation).

Oh no, not the poor sex offenders…

Yes, the people who are granted the same human rights as everyone else.

All sorts of people out there is just waiting to sort others into “good” and “not as good”, and it may not be to your liking.


Maybe it would be fine if the bar to be labelled “sex offender” was higher, like multiple offences. As it stands, one can be labelled a “sex offender” for many innocuous things, such as public urination. Under current laws, the only reason why Janet Jackson is not a sex offender is because she is rich and famous.


On the surface ankle monitors make a lot of sense. But the details are full of graft in every state. They’re viewed as a way to extract money from a class that can’t fight back, most of the time the money doesn’t even fund police departments but go into the pockets of private contractors.

Federal standardization of the practice of ankle monitors would go a long way. Transparency in all monetary exchanges would help a great deal.

Honestly I wouldn’t bother using it on a non-violent first time offender. Let people out on own recognizance, and promise in writing that they’ll appear for any scheduled follow ups or reschedule as appropriate. If someone has multiple offenses or also has a restraining order, then it makes a lot more sense to use these devices. But you know how it is, the government isn’t about to use common sense or data to guide their actions.

I wish we didn’t have a culture where everyone was trying to make a buck by ripping each other off.


I currently have an ankle monitor on me. Imposed for 5 years for a misdemeanor in which I spent 2 months behind bars. It was imposed after I took a deal with the DA. I had no idea about it until I was released from county jail.

California has the right to not disclose any of this information. Think about that for a second, when you get out of jail, are you really even out?

By the way this isn’t a new GPS monitor, its an old dinosaur that weights nearly 5 pounds and hangs on my left ankle. I tried to go for a walk in the city and ended up with a bloody ankle ( I wish I was joking).

There is very little I can do with this thing on me. Any type of physical exercise that involves my feet, forget it… I can’t submerge the device underwater so forget about going for a swim. Wearing a boot? Forget it.
Skateboarding or snowboarding, both of which I absolutely love, out of the question. Something simple as wearing shorts, out of the question, since im Indian and wearing what looks like a detonator on my leg is not a good idea.

My crime was non-violent. The only reason im having this imposed on me is because I was arrested in a small county and they use the state laws to its fullest without questions or moral implications.

I did the crime AND did the time. However I can’t simply move on with my life because everyday I wake up im reminded that im no longer a human being. Im just a signal on a screen.


By the way of the ankle monitor breaks in any way in those 5 years, i owe the county 2500$.


That depends on whether you frame the question as “is this better than prison” or “is this worse than probation/release without an ankle monitor.” As the article notes, in practice they usually get attached to people who were going to be released anyway.

It’s kind of like the discussion around tasers. Proponents say “hey, would you prefer we use bullets?” But the reality is that people who were going to get shot by cops still are getting shot by cops, and tasers are being used as a tool of compliance (or pure sadistic punishment) rather than an alternative to lethal force.


I think it’s unethical to bill people for their incarceration and or other punishments. We, society is imposing these punishments on people, we should collectively bear the costs. I feel it would help us make better choices about who, and when we incarcerate people. Don’t even get me started on the phone and commissary gauging.


It would be especially cruel for me because I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from tampering with it. In fact I want to tamper with one right now!


But look on the bright side: Paul Manafort got to wear one, and he would be wearing it even today, if it weren’t for those pesky witness tampering charges.

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Oh please, this is so overblown. My brother had to wear an ankle monitor for nearly a year. It’s a WAY better option than being in prison.

If they fail or malfunction (a somewhat common occurrence), you simply place a call and let authorities know. If you need it removed for a medical procedure (a rare occurrence), even if your state doesn’t have a policy, you just get a note from your doctor and fill out some paperwork. And yes, like anything else, if you damage it, you pay for it.

My brother would take being at home with his family, working on online college courses, eating regular food and wearing regular clothes, being able to talk to friends without it being recorded, being able to watch any TV he wanted, take showers when he wanted and live about 85% of a normal life over being locked up in a dangerous prison any day.


in my state parents or friends of someone incarcerated in state run prisons are required to have a landline in order to talk the prisoner through the prison phone system.

First-hand observations like yours are one of the main reasons I read the BBS. Thanks for sharing, and welcome to BoingBoing!


What, are they made by the pharma industry?

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You can’t call into it from a mobile phone?