Chain Gang 2.0: If You Can’t Afford This GPS Ankle Bracelet, You Get Thrown In Jail

Some states now require people to pay for their own electronic monitoring once they bail out of jail. And if you miss a payment, you better watch out.

Feature (NATIONAL)

Eric Markowitz
International Business Times (IB Times)
September 21, 2015

Tags: Court Debt, Debtors Prison

Organizations mentioned/involved: Equal Justice Under Law (DC)


This arrangement reflects an opportunistic pitch by prison-oriented technology companies that has found favor with budget-minded government officials. In effect, companies like OMS have allowed municipalities like Richland County to save the costs of monitoring offenders by having the offenders pay themselves. The county wins, the company wins and people like Green find themselves confronting additional drains on their limited means.

In Richland County, if offenders don’t — or simply can’t — meet their payments, the company is obliged to contact police in order to “return [the offender] to the custody of the [Richland County] Detention Center,” a public facility.

In other words, if you can’t pay your electronic monitoring bill, you get sent back to jail.