You’re Under House Arrest: How GPS Monitoring Devices Work

house arrest

GPS monitoring devices are more commonly known as ankle bracelets, ankle monitors, or ankle tags. These are used to monitor people and their locations while they await trial, or if they are on house arrest.

Ankle bracelets are also used to monitor people on parole or probation. 

Even though GPS monitoring devices have many criticisms leveled against them (outlined below), they are useful for the defendant to tie up loose ends, or spend some time with family members before going into lengthy incarceration.

The use of ankle bracelets is growing fast, with 125,000 people monitored using them in 2015, as opposed to only 53,000 in 2005.

As US jails become more overcrowded, ankle monitors are being used as a tool to empty the jails and keep the more serious offenders incarcerated. 

If you are on house arrest, then an ankle monitor can be a great way to keep your freedom and a semblance of a life while still going through lengthy court proceedings. Read on to see how ankle monitors work and what you should know about them.

How Do Ankle Bracelets Work?

The technology behind the ankle bracelets is quite simple. They are an electronic device that fits around the person’s ankle who’s on house arrest.

Through a GPS, it constantly sends the location of the person to the local law enforcement officials. 

If you attempt to remove the device or you meander outside of the set geographic setting, an alarm gets triggered and law enforcement agents will come and arrest you. 

Interestingly, the technology has improved so much that some ankle monitors can also monitor the person’s alcohol levels through the skin, triggering an alarm if their blood alcohol levels go beyond a certain set limit. 

Some Criticisms of GPS Monitoring Systems

There are four particular criticisms of the GPS monitoring systems outlined below. If you get a high-quality ankle monitor, it should resolve most of these criticisms. 

Incorrect Data

Some defendants claim that incorrect data got transmitted which landed them longer prison sentences or got them arrested for more crimes. There are no secondary checks, which can be a problem. 

Batteries Can Die

If the battery in the ankle monitor dies, then it triggers an alarm. This can cause law enforcement agents to come and arrest the defendant.

Do Not Allow for Emergencies

What if the defendant has to be transported to a hospital further away than the geographical limit, or there’s a family emergency that they have to travel for? A GPS monitoring system doesn’t allow for all that.

Not Known Who Owns the Data or Who It’s Shared With

All the data that’s stored on the device can be accessed by law enforcement agencies or other departments at the federal or state level. Also, the third-party companies in charge of the device can access it as well. 

It’s not known who owns this data or who should be allowed access to it. 

GPS Monitoring Devices Are Not Free

In some cases, GPS monitoring devices can put poorer people in jeopardy, because if they fall behind on payments for the ankle bracelets, they could be locked up again. 

The person on house arrest is usually put on a payment plan to pay for the ankle monitor, which sometimes costs more than their bail. In fact, a federal survey showed that 40% of Americans would have a hard time finding $400 to cover an emergency. 

This doesn’t mean that ankle monitors are all bad. In fact, for a person on house arrest, they are a sort of relief. But all the financial factors need to be considered before deciding to go for it. 

Don’t Worry: Ankle Monitors Don’t Have Microphones

One of the main fears that defendants have is that their conversations will be monitored if they end up on a GPS. 

But that’s actually a myth perpetuated by Hollywood. Due to legal ramifications and the Privacy Act, people who are around the defendant have not signed any documents saying that they agree to be monitored as well.

This is why GPS monitoring systems only send the location of the person on house arrest and nothing else. 

Thus, you can have all the conversations you want, private and public, without worrying about those being recorded and sent to law enforcement agencies. 

Advantages for the Person Awaiting Prison Terms

The main thing to realize about ankle bracelets is that they hold a sort of respite for anyone who’s considering house arrest, or who is awaiting a trial, which could result in a lengthy prison sentence. 

No one who’s stuck in the red tape of the justice system wants to wait around while the courts move their hands painfully slowly. 

If you’re going to be stuck somewhere while awaiting the court’s decision, it’s better to be in a familiar place filled with loving family embraces and warm home-cooked meals. 

Not everyone gets the option to choose, but if you are on house arrest and they offer you an ankle bracelet, take it. It’s better than sitting around in a dusty jail, without contact with family or friends. 

You might not be able to go to work, or back to your previous life completely. But you can at least maintain some contact with friends and family, watch TV, work on your hobbies, and sleep in peace in a familiar bed. 

Who knows how long you’ll be incarcerated? It’s better to take advantage of the now and live for the present. 

On House Arrest? Consider Getting an Ankle Monitor 

There aren’t many options available to a person waiting to serve out their house arrest, but an ankle bracelet at least gives you more freedom than anything else. 

This freedom is a gift that’s well worth it, as you consider how long you might have to spend stuck in a musky jail cell or inside your parent’s house. 

If you are considering high-quality GPS monitoring devices, please contact us today. 

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