TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: The Move to High-Tech Tracking of Inmates

Re: The Move to High-Tech Tracking of Inmates
15 Feb 2005 11:38:18 -0800

Lisa Minter wrote:

> By Kris Axtman Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

> "Compared to a jail bed, it's dramatically cheaper."

Jails and prisons are extremely expensive. They do protect society by
serving as a warehouse keeping criminals off the streets. However,
they have a poor record of rehabilitation.

> "We're not in favor of taking people out of prisons and putting them
> on GPS," says Kicker, a former Dallas police officer. "But many
> people, like those on work release, can do just as well out on the
> street as they can in prison."

Prison is not real life. Supervised work release offers more of an
opportunity for rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, a conviction record makes it extremely difficult if not
impossible for a felon to find another job and the temptation to go
back to crime becomes awfully hard to fight.

> "There is a chance for human error. I'm not going to argue that
> point," says Kicker. "But you can't strap an ankle bracelet on a guy
> and then forget about him. It takes a certain amount of diligence on
> the parole officer's part."

That's the other big problem of prisons. Society is willing to spend
big big bucks building high security prisons to serve as warehouses.
But society doesn't like any educational or social-life training
programs for the offenders, even though many offenders desperately
need such help to stay clean. MSNBC reported graduates of a Los
Angeles program are far less likely to return.

Parole is a joke. An offender on parole needs a great deal of
support, both in terms of 'tough love' and practical skill assistance.
But parole is basically nothing but paperwork and filling up the cup.
There is a great shortage of parole officers and other support
personnel. This isn't a "bleeding heart liberal" issue, it is plain
practicality. If society ignores these offenders, these offenders
won't ignore us -- they'll be robbing our houses soon enough.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Chicago Police have run into a 'little
administrative problem' on this. They are not permitted under the law
to house certain types of offenders (1) within 500 feet of schools or
day care centers, nor (2) within some small distance of each other,
nor (3) around a place of ill-repute. Trouble is, the number of
offenders has risen so expotentially in recent years, they are
running physically out of anywhere to put them while meeting the above
criteria. So now they are thinking about eliminating (2) from their
criteria, and in fact have ignored it for quite a while. As a result,
there is one area in the city, Englewood (a very poor economically,
black, inner city area) which is *so* overloaded with offenders, that
the neighbors there have started complaining a lot also. PAT]

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