What is an Ankle Monitor?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Images By: Lisa F. Young, Syda Productions, Chris Yarzab, Donserhio, Stocksolutions
  • Last Modified Date: 28 April 2020
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An ankle monitor is a bracelet-like device which transmits information about its wearer to a remote monitoring center. It normally relays this information via radio transmission or global positioning system (GPS) technology. Usually, it is locked in place to allow for constant monitoring. In many cases, an ankle monitor is used to determine the wearer’s location, usually as a condition of parole or house arrest. It may also be used to measure the wearer’s alcohol usage, normally as part of a punishment for an alcohol-related offense.

In most cases, an ankle monitor system consists of three main components: an ankle bracelet, an on-site receiver, and a remote receiver. When tethered around the ankle, the bracelet unit takes regular or constant readings of desired information, such as the user’s location. Using either radio transmission or GPS technology, these readings are sent to an on-site transmitter, usually located in the user’s home. Next, the readings are relayed to a remote receiver, which may be located at a police station or monitoring service center. If the readings indicate a breach by the user, such as leaving the home while under house arrest, the proper authorities are alerted and act accordingly.

Usually, an ankle monitor is locked into place to allow for ongoing, accurate monitoring. Some units have inbuilt sensors which notify authorities should users attempt to remove them or interfere with their performance. The fact that it cannot be removed is partially responsible for the monitor’s alternate name: the tether.

One of the most common uses for an ankle monitor is the supervision of a wearer’s location. Generally, this information is needed because the wearer is either under house arrest or on parole. Either way, the use of a monitor can prevent the need for constant supervision of the offender by a law enforcement officer. Some studies suggest, however, that use of these monitors may be less effective in discouraging further crimes by the wearer than other rehabilitation programs.

Another popular use for the ankle monitor is the measurement of alcohol consumption. In this case, the device analyzes the sweat to determine whether it contains alcohol. Usually, this type of monitor is used for this reason because the wearer has committed a serious alcohol-related offense, such as driving while intoxicated. An ankle monitor may be imposed as a punishment or rehabilitation tool which prevents the offender from consuming alcohol for a fixed period of time.

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Post 3

Anytime I think of someone wearing ankle monitoring devices I think of Martha Stewart and Lindsay Lohan.

This is probably because there always seemed to be a lot of media attention for these women when they were on parole.

Even though wearing an ankle monitor seems kind of cumbersome, I think it would be much better than being in prison. Having the freedom to be in your own home would be way better than being confined in a prison setting.

What seems sad to me is that many times they continue to push the boundaries when they are wearing the ankle monitor and still seem to get in trouble.

Post 2

@popcorn - While I think that stars should watch what they are doing where young people can see them, I also feel that all individuals should be treated fairly by the courts. Making an example of someone just because they are more visible seems like a terrible way to go about things.

Electronic monitoring of individuals is an excellent way for the courts to hand out punishments that are less severe. Jails around the country are more full than ever, and saving space for real crooks is important. I think that ankle bracelet monitoring should remain in place for smaller crimes.

Post 1

Whenever I think of a house arrest ankle monitor it reminds me of all the celebrities you see wearing them. It seems like every other day some starlet is getting tethered to a house arrest ankle bracelet for a DUI or drug charge.

It seems to me that if the courts were really serious about punishing those who drink and drive or do drugs, and if they wanted to make real examples out of the more visible folks in our society, they would make them do something harder than being trapped in their own luxury home. Maybe donning an orange jumpsuit and picking up roadside trash for months on end would be a more fitting punishment for those celebrities who are acting like spoiled children.

Would you agree that stars, because of their position in the spotlight need to be more responsible as so many young people are watching and emulating them?

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