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Electronic Monitoring: A Pretrial Release Option? Or, E-Carceration

 JSP Staff

Following an arrest and booking into jail, the court must make a release decision about an individual, including: release the individual with no conditions, release the individual with conditions, or keep the person detained while the court is working on their case. If the court decides to release a person from detention with conditions, one of these conditions the court can impose on a person is placement on electronic monitoring (EM). EM allows the court to keep track if the person is staying in a specific geographic area or abiding by curfew rules during pretrial, or while their court is processing their case.

While the research is undecided about if EM improves court appearance, there is agreement that EM increases incidents of technical violations and potential returns to jail. This resource provides a summary of the research evaluating the effectiveness of EM, explores how EM exacerbates inequities, and provides practical considerations for centering equity.