The Use of Electronic Monitoring as a Supervision Tool

  • Stephen V. GiesEmail author


The use of electronic monitoring (EM) as a tool by criminal justice agencies to monitor offenders in the community is not a new notion. From its inception 50 years ago, it was heralded as a solution for many prevailing problems, including large caseloads, crowded jails and prisons, and the high costs of incarceration and supervision. These early predictions, however, proved overly optimistic due to both misconceptions about the technology as well as technical problems with the equipment. It was not until Global Positioning System (GPS) technology was re-engineered as a supervision tool that EM emerged again as a “hot new technology” for crime control. States now use EM with and without GPS at various points in the judicial system and with a wide variety of different offenders, including drunk drivers, spouse abusers, substance abusers, mentally ill offenders, and gang offenders. However, due to the recent proliferation of laws that require increase penalties and intensified surveillance for those convicted of sex crimes, no offender group has been more associated with the use of EM than sex offenders. In this chapter, we briefly review various methods of sex offender management, and then focus on the effectiveness research and practical application of EM systems using the California experience with high-risk sex offenders to illustrate the problems and limitations of program implementation as well as the cost of such a system. Finally, we review the policy implications that arose from the experiences in California.


Electronic monitoring Sex offender Community supervision Evaluation Policy implications 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Development Services Group, Inc.BethesdaUSA

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