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Abstract

Given the substantial cost of running carceral facilities in the United States and the overcrowding of jails and prisons, the number of individuals on electronic monitoring has dramatically risen during the last decade. Government officials have hailed electronic monitoring as the solution to mass incarceration while criminal justice activists have called electronic monitoring another form of incarceration. In particular, electronic monitoring has been criticized for violating individual’s right to privacy through unnecessary surveillance and movement restrictions. The goal of this study is to determine the effectiveness of electronic monitoring as an alternative to incarceration using interviews and survey data. The study concludes that electronic monitoring still operates as a punitive, rather than a rehabilitative form of criminal justice policy. Instead of thinking of electronic monitoring as identical to prison, electronic monitoring exists as an adaptation of mass incarceration to a political system that values economic efficiency and technology. Electronic Monitoring increases the ability of the state to surveil marginalized groups, specifically young, Black men. In order to create a rehabilitative carceral system Cook County must ease the movement restrictions of electronic monitoring and invest in long term social welfare.

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