Landscapes of Electronic Monitoring in Pennsylvania

Authors: Jackson Ingram*,
Topics: United States
Keywords: electronic monitoring, decarceration, corrections, Pennsylvania
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Rising prison populations and harsh sentencing practices have become critical issues in the United States. These issues have brought decarceration and convicts’ post-prison lives into the forefront of geographic discussion. Recent developments in the electronic-monitoring industry have served to add a new, yet-unstudied dimension to this topic, with the rise of sophisticated global-positioning system, radio-frequency, blood-alcohol content, and remote recognition technologies. My research seeks to address this new field using the state of Pennsylvania as a case study, paying particular attention to the distribution of the use of these technologies throughout PA, as well as the associated costs imposed upon those affected, the purported intentions of these programs, and the factors which influence these dimensions. Specifically, I consider the correlations between the explanations provided by local governments, the political leanings of the county's constituencies, and the costs associated with the program. These costs range from prices directly paid by the individual being monitored, in exchange for the right to participate in the program; the expenditures and savings of the prison systems as they implement these policies; and the indirect costs incurred by the community, such as employees of the corrections system and families of convicted offenders. I argue that the use of electronic monitoring in corrections does not inherently lessen the burden involved within the prison system, and instead redistributes it. In conclusion, this project sheds new light on the rapidly expanding issue of electronic monitoring in the corrections system.

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