Tethers May Ease Jail Crowding, State Budget
Approximately 130 local, state, and federal jurisdictions are using electronic tethers to reduce prison populations and save the cost of incarceration.
Inmates who have served part of their sentences or defendants waiting to go on trial who pose a low safety or flight risk are eligible for the program, which requires them to carry a purse-like electronic box that tracks movement via a Global Positioning System and sounds an alarm if the terms of parole are violated.
Electronic tethers can also take the form of anklets that measure blood-alcohol levels through skin pores, notifying a judge if it goes too high, and not allowing parolees to come within so many feet of people they have tried to stalk.
Odessa, Fla.-based ProTech Monitoring Inc. is the leading developer of the technology, but Eastpointe, Mich.-based House Arrest Services also offers a voice-verification system, which calls defendants at home each day and verifies their identity through their voice patterns when they are asked to repeat numbers.
Opponents of electronic tethers claim the technology is unreliable and is a financial burden because defendants pay for using the technology.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Detroit Free Press (02/10/03); Youssef, Nancy A.