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Lifetime Electronic Monitoring in Michigan: All You Need To Know

Electronic Monitoring of Offenders in the Community; a Brief.

Michigan’s electronic monitoring system is meant to provide community supervision staff with additional tools to more intensely supervise offenders. The department also provides this monitoring service for some district and probate courts, sheriffs’ departments and juvenile offenders.

In l986, the Curfew Monitoring (formerly known as Radio Frequency) program was successfully steered for selected Washtenaw County probationers. By the end of 1987, it was being used on a statewide basis. It allows for the monitoring and enforcement of curfews and other conditions of community supervision.

Offenders supervised using electronic monitoring devices are managed more closely than other offenders in the community. The use of electronic monitoring is sometimes used to divert offenders from placement in local county jails as well as act as an additional deterrent to parolees and probationers being managed in the community.

The technology has become increasingly popular as the movement to reduce mass incarceration gains momentum. It is touted as a way of bringing down prison populations while still keeping people under the watchful eye of the state.

However, you need to understand electronic monitoring for what it really is: incarceration by another name. And it’s a form of incarceration which has largely arisen without scrutiny or regulation.

As a person under lifetime electronic monitoring, you can simply be described as not having to fight for neither the telephone nor the shower—but you’re still in jail.

Lonely Man

Public Perception of the lifetime electronic monitoring

Most people have endured the ‘horror’ for months waiting for trial and following their conviction to an actual prison. They had a life-threatening condition at the time necessitating an operation that required the EM to come off.

After the operation in intensive care, the department officer would already be there to reattach it. To a vast majority, it is barbaric and embarrassing to say the least. There is also the real problem of these devices malfunctioning and sending false reports that the wearer has tampered with the device.

This cause hassles for you as the person being monitored because your supervising agency freaks out when they get a notification; this shows the imperfections of the device. Some people believes that the whole GPS, registration and inhumanity is part of American history, which the citizens haven’t really learned from to become better people till date.

On the other hand, many will pick it several time over being locked up. In some jurisdictions, the electronic monitoring is being used as a treatment tool. Others are using it simply to deal with overcrowding issues and the need to get people out of prison or jail. So, it varies from area to area, jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Obviously with juveniles, judges typically do not want to keep them in custody, so EM is mostly an alternative to incarceration. Most states have laws that say youth have to be in the least restrictive custody level allowable for whatever they’re charged with. Electronic monitoring provides just the needed middle ground

Areas covered by the Electronic monitoring

EM has attain more strength in controlling some major criminal conducts found problematic on a societal level especially criminal sexual conduct and alcoholism.

  • Alcoholism.

In 2004, the monitoring program for alcohol consumption expanded with the introduction of the S.C.R.A.M. (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) alcohol monitoring device.

This technology also uses fuel cell technology, but monitors for alcohol consumption twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven days every week.  The S.C.R.A.M. device takes readings 24 hours per day.

Each sample is tested and the readings are stored in the bracelet. Those readings are transmitted to a host computer through the use of a modem at a pre-determined time.

 In Michigan, once you are convicted of a certain criminal sexual conduct, you must have a tether device attached for the rest of your life.

A Legislation which became effective in August of 2006 requires lifetime electronic monitoring of specified sex offenders. Offenders sentenced to probation and jail term for the offenses defined in the statute, with a special condition for lifetime electronic monitoring, shall also be subject to GPS supervision.

Those sentenced to prison shall also be included in lifetime electronic monitoring. Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree states, in addition to any other penalty imposed, the court shall sentence the defendant to lifetime electronic monitoring.

While the Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree states the court shall sentence the defendant to lifetime electronic monitoring, if the violation involved sexual contact committed by an individual who is 17 years of age or older against an individual less than 13 years of age.

Rationale for Lifetime Electronic Monitoring.

Although, there has been a large agreement that electronic monitoring is a promising tool for reducing recidivism and controlling corrections costs, questions remain about its adequacy as an alternative to incarceration.

One of the significance is that it should be to hold individuals accountable for their actions—their basic movements and activities in a given day. It should also be used as a deterrent to re-offending, absconding, or violating the rules of their supervision, that the goals and objectives should be to align with an overall strategy of conducting community supervision with the hopes of changing offenders’ behavior so they will not commit new crimes,

EM also qualifies as an intelligent, targeted strategy of using certain types of technologies with certain types of offenders and then continuously monitoring individuals’ progress and making adjustments where needed.

On a whole, we need to use it at the level of the state to divert folks who don’t need to be in jail and use it at the back end for things like compassionate release for elderly offenders, who can very easily be monitored at home for a period of time.

In conclusion, the electronic monitors are effective for youthful offenders, because they provide structure and rules that juveniles must follow to remain in the community. It has gone in two different directions.

For heightened effectiveness, the vendors are getting smarter about battery life and power saving methods, so the devices themselves are getting smaller. There’s also a movement to make them harder to remove.

There’s been a lot of public scrutiny about how easy it is to cut the bracelets off. However, you don’t want them to be permanently fixed in case there’s an accident or an emergency when we have to get them off.

If the offender breaks his leg and the leg is swelling, you can’t have a band that is irremovable.

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