Limiting the possibility of incarceration is often a top priority for parents of teens who are facing criminal allegations. For some Washington parents, the opportunity for ankle monitors may seem preferable to time spent in a juvenile detention facility. The realities of living with an ankle monitor are not always what people expect, though.
Do ankle monitors help recidivism rates?
Researchers at the forefront of recidivism studies say there is no evidence that surveillance devices reduce how often people go back to prison. In fact, most recidivism researchers say that the devices have the opposite effect. Constant surveillance with an ankle monitor makes it extremely easy to rack up technical violations, which can include activities such as:
- Stopping at the grocery store after school
- Seeing friends at a park
- Forgetting to recharge the monitor at the designated time
Law enforcement experts have found that ankle monitors really only work well for a small group of people, primarily adults with a high risk of reoffending. Ankle monitors are far less effective on other groups, especially teenagers who may struggle with many of the rules associated with surveillance. There is an upside though, which is that ankle monitors help reduce the number of minors who actually have to spend time inside detention centers. Unfortunately, they do little to address the systemic issues that land Washington teens in these situations in the first place.
As a parent it can be very scary to learn that a child might have to spend time in a juvenile detention facility. In some cases, an ankle monitor might be a viable alternative to detention. However, it is important to fully understand the pros and cons before moving forward with any decisions.