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The Use of Electronic Monitoring as an Alternative to Incarceration

Criminal Justice professionals and community leaders have frequently questioned the need for offenders remain behind bars, at a tremendous cost to the tax-paying public, when the availability of alternative methods has such great utility. The annual cost of imprisoning more than 2 million people ($80 billion) gives us incentive to make use of those alternatives, and re-examine the effectiveness of our state and federal prison systems. With the advance of technology, we have acquired means to effectively monitor, supervise, and control lower-risk offenders while still providing an impressive measure of public safety. The cost of imprisonment is not only counted in tax-dollars, but loss to the community, and strain on inmates’ families. Additionally, the principles of correctional reform and inmate rehabilitation are minimally facilitated in prison, while electronic alternatives show great promise. This study examines the utility of prison alternatives, and the barriers to their implementation. The study concludes that sparing the emotional wear and tear on inmates and their families, the monetary savings in tax-dollars, and maintaining an elevated degree of public safety, merits the consideration. The study supports reducing, replacing, and closing a substantial number of existing institutions in the U.S., reserving conventional prisons only for violent offenders and those who constitute a valid threat to society’s well-being.


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  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 1217

  • Event date
    • 3 November 2018

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022