How Does an Ankle Monitor Work? (and Other Frequently Asked Questions)

Ankle Bracelets
How Does an Ankle Monitor Work

You may have questions about how does an ankle monitor work? This is a very relevant question right now as more and more people are wearing them. COVID hotspots in prisons have meant that more and more people are being given the opportunity of staying at home using such a device.

It seems there are over 125,000 people right now wearing this kind of technology. If you commit an offense in the near future, you could find yourself with one of these strapped to your ankle.

So in this article, we’ll talk you through some common questions. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll either feel reassured or even more determined not to end up with one on your ankle. Either way makes this a worthwhile read.

How Does An Ankle Monitor Work?

We are used to the idea of a smartwatch that contains GPS. The same basic principle is at the heart of the ankle monitor. It contains a GPS system that allows a third party to monitor your location and movements. 

Many people like to use a location tracking system on their phones and other devices. This is often used in families for their safety and peace of mind. The difference with an ankle monitor is that the wearer has no choice in the matter.

Once the ankle monitor is attached the user cannot remove it. Like wearing dental braces it is very obvious at first and the user will be conscious of the weight of the device and any discomfort it causes. But over time they will adjust to it and accept it; afterward, it will seem fine.

Inbuilt Warning System

Depending on the terms imposed by the court, some offenders are not allowed to go to certain locations or be in specific types of locations such as schools. These types of places are all registered on a database for their protection. If an offender, wearing an ankle monitor, strays into a zone or area they shouldn’t be, then the ankle monitor will sound an alarm and notify the authorities.

This is intended to be a protection for everyone. The idea of your ankle monitor sounding an alarm should serve as an effective deterrent to going somewhere you shouldn’t be. 

Communication Tool

An ankle monitor can do several things that a mobile phone or smartwatch can do. One of those tricks includes communicating with others. There are many reasons why the authorities would want to do that with an offender.

Part of the purpose of an ankle monitor is to help rehabilitate the offender. Their journey back to being a law-abiding citizen may not be a smooth one. So, on occasion, it may be necessary to talk directly with the offender through their ankle monitor. 

Monitoring Tool

This is a trick you won’t get on your mobile phone or smartwatch. Ankle monitors issued to drug offenders or drink drivers can test the user as to alcohol or illegal substances in their body. This is based on sampling the person’s sweat every hour.

The data from the sweat is transmitted for analysis. If the results indicate the offender has committed a repeat offense, then the police will go and pick them up. Once again this offers the balance of protecting the public as well as serving as a strong deterrent.

Are Ankle Monitors Waterproof?

This is a good question. The basic answer is yes. If they weren’t, then offenders would no doubt be destroying them often at great expense to the taxpayer and frustration for the authorities. 

Even so, it is worth noting that water-resistant and waterproof are not the same thing. Different states will use ankle monitors that may not have the same specification so it’s wise to know exactly what you can and cannot do with your bracelet. 

Some people wonder how do house arrest bracelets work when it comes to taking a shower? For basic daily activities like this, there will be no problem. Ankle monitor durability is a major consideration in their design and as a result, they’ve become lighter and more robust.

Practical Considerations

Typical ankle monitor FAQs relate to things like what to do when exercising and how to charge the device. This is good news and bad news. The good news is that the user can exercise as they would normally for the most part.

If the bracelet is causing discomfort or soreness during exercise then the user should be upfront and discuss that with their supervisor. It’s possible it can be adjusted in some way to improve comfort.

However, here’s the bad news. The user cannot take the bracelet off to charge up the power. They will need to charge the bracelet every day for about 2 hours depending on the device. 

Many bracelets have tactile indicators like vibration to signal the user it needs charging. Also when the charger is connected etc there may be a vibration signal or a small LED to show that charging is occurring.

Rewards for Good Behavior

So how does an ankle monitor work? By now you should know the basics. The points covered in this article will help answer many questions that crop up regularly. These bracelets have been designed not to restrict the user from living a normal legal life.

Wearing the bracelet itself is not a punishment but a protection. You can think of it as being like a seatbelt in the car while driving. Of course, there are restrictions, but those are necessary.

You can check out some examples of our GPS tracking products here.

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