Thursday, August 23, 2007

More High-Tech Goodies for Big Brother

Now that the Government is on the way towards monitoring drug use via waste water, how can we possibly incarcerate all those new criminals? With the next generation of electronic monitoring, of course. Such a system is already in the works in Wyoming:

Equipped with a global positioning unit and a cell phone, the TrackerPal is a little larger than a pack of cigarettes, uses detachable, rechargeable battery packs, and is attached with a custom tool.

Police can use the TrackerPal's cell phone to speak with offenders.

Tidwell said the device differs from older electronic monitoring anklets, which allowed offenders to stay within a few yards of a fixed base station, typically located in their homes.

With the latest generation of equipment, probation or parole officers can set up an exclusion zone where the wearer is not allowed, such as a school or park, in the case of a registered sex offender.

Or, they may be allowed only at home, work and the road between the two places, he said.
You gotta a law enforcement tool with "Pal" in the name.* While the theory behind this system makes sense - it provides more security that will allow some folks to serve home confinement sentences rather than terms of incarceration - I'm skeptical that it will work out that way. For example, one mayor says:
This would help a lot of the 'meth moms' that we're giving those massive jail sentences of 10 or 15 years to,
No it won't. People currently getting multiple years in prison are not going to get home confinement instead. Some folks who get short jail sentence might benefit, but I'm afraid that the increased surveillance tech will become a tool to further nit pick the lives of not-yet-convicted folks on bond or post-sentence folks on parole/supervised release.

I'm all for developing alternatives to incarceration, I'm just not enthused that fewer incarcerations will actually come to pass.

* Along the same lines, the Wyoming company pitching these devices is called Freedom Fighters. As George Carlin pondered:
Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?
No, they don't.

1 comment:

FacingTheSharks said...

Can you just see all the cell phone companies trying to compete for the contracts on this?

I can just see the commercials too...

Dress up that geeky Verizon guy in a striped jail suit and send him on a test.

Can you track me now? Good. Can you track me now? Good. Can you track me now? Good.

Then Sprint and Nextel compete with the prisoners doing a test..

Can you track me now? Hello? Can you track me now? Hello? SEE YA!!!!!