While most of us have seen ankle monitors used in television shows or movies, we don’t actually know that much about them. Judges often order offenders to wear an ankle monitor if they do not pose a major threat to the community. After the pandemic, rulings for these devices have been on the rise.
In this ankle monitor guide, we discuss the different ankle monitors that are available today and which types of offenders may be eligible for this alternative
What Are Ankle Monitors?
Ankle monitors are electronic devices that the court uses to keep track of offenders. These devices ensure they don’t travel outside of a boundary established by the court.
The offender must wear these devices for a determined amount of time and cannot tamper with them. Anyone who attempts to leave their established boundaries or tamper with the device is subject to consequences.
Some devices provide extra monitoring by tracking alcohol levels. The different ankle monitors are:
Global Positioning Systems Monitors (GPS)
GPS monitoring devices are the most common. A GPS ankle monitor tracks the wearer using GPS information transmitted by satellites that give the corrections department their location.
Officers can set inclusion and exclusion zones, depending on the conditions set by the court. Some offenders aren’t restricted to their homes and can travel to specific locations, such as work. With these devices, there is 24/7 monitoring to make sure offenders are staying in their permitted zones.
Radio Frequency Monitors (RF)
RF monitoring is often used to monitor curfews. These types involve both an ankle monitor and a home monitoring unit that notifies the monitoring center if the offender gets too far away.
The range is usually anywhere from 50 to 150 feet. This type of monitoring system is most common in low-level or juvenile offenders.
Alcohol monitors regularly track the wearer’s blood alcohol content or BAC. These devices detect whether someone has consumed alcohol by the release of sweat through an ankle bracelet. These devices also use GPS technology to track the location of the offender.
Who Gets a Court-Ordered Ankle Monitor?
There are many reasons a court may order someone to wear an ankle bracelet monitor. These offenders are often non-violent, first offenders.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will sometimes order a GPS monitor instead of holding illegal immigrants in a detention facility. If they do not pose any threats or risk of leaving, this is a common alternative while they await their hearing.
Individuals Convicted With Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
If someone is arrested for a DUI, the court may order them to wear an alcohol ankle monitor to prevent them from consuming alcohol while they await their trial.
This is more cost-effective than regularly sending out a probation officer to test individuals for alcohol use and allows more frequent check-ins.
Someone on Parole or Probation
Individuals out on parole or probation have more freedoms than they would in jail, but must be under supervision. Based on the terms established under their probation, they may have to wear an ankle monitoring device.
Depending on these terms, someone might be restricted to their homes, allowed to go to work, attend parole meetings, or visit the doctor. Terms that require a probation ankle monitor are common in sex offenders, some drug crimes, flight risks, and those with prior DUIs.
Offenders Awaiting Trial
Anyone who is awaiting trial and poses a flight risk outside of jail may need to wear an ankle monitor. This ensures that the individual does not disappear before their trial date.
This is a common occurrence with people who were bailed out of jail or committed non-violent crimes.
People Put On House Arrest
House arrest is when you are confined to your home instead of being placed in a prison or juvenile detention center. This is a cost-effective alternative to holding non-violent offenders in prison.
People placed under house arrest must wear an ankle monitor to track their whereabouts. They may have to stay in their home or have permission to visit certain places, like work or church. The restrictions will vary based on the nature of the crimes committed.
Individuals can even request house arrest as their punishment if they meet any of the following criteria:
- First offense
- Juvenile under the supervision of their parents
- Non-violent offender
- Stable employment history
- Low-level offense
What Happens When Conditions Are Violated With an Ankle Monitor?
If an offender violates their conditions while under the supervision of a monitoring system, they will be subject to arrest. After the arrest, a judge will determine whether they will face any consequences for violating their terms.
When offenders try to tamper with their devices, the device signals law enforcement agencies of the misuse. Offenders caught doing this often face arrest.
Violation of house arrest can cause stricter terms, jail time, or revoked parole. In cases of parole, the offender is likely to face re-incarceration.
Learn More About Ankle Monitors
In many low-level cases, an ankle monitor can be a cost-effective punishment that allows offenders to live a more normal life without posing a threat to the community. Situations such as driving under the influence, immigration issues, or non-violent crimes can all lead to court-ordered house arrest.
Ankle monitors provide the opportunity to keep an eye on these individuals 24/7 and are a useful tool in our justice system.
Interested in learning more about ankle monitors? Head over to our blog page for more information.