Re: LEGAL: Alternatives to imprisonment

Michael S. Lorrey (
Mon, 08 Mar 1999 14:44:17 -0500

Billy Brown wrote:

> wrote:
> > A more sophisticated system could easily be developed with cellular
> > and/or GPS technology and more advanced information processing. First,
> > the base station could be dispensed with. Second, a smaller and less
> > intrusive mobile unit could give constant reporting on a prisoner's
> > whereabouts.
> This is a neat idea. I don't thing it is quite feasible yet, but it isn't
> very far off. Fitting all the electronics into a small enough package
> should be practical within a couple of years. The battery is a bit of a
> problem, however - we don't want to rely on something as failure-prone as
> current cell phone systems.

The unit could have a kinetic battery that uses a solenoid to generate power from the movement of the wearer.

> > Third, the system could be designed to include or exclude specific
> > locations from a prisoner's prescribed locations, so that probation or
> > sentence could include non-entry into a specific neighborhood or house.
> > Units could also be designed to interact with each other, so that
> > offenders or probationers could be effectively prohibited from
> > congregating or acting together. All of these factors could be analyzed
> > and reporting could be prioritized and decentralized so that, for
> > instance, a report of unauthorized congregation of offenders
> > could be routed immediately to the closest law enforcement
> > officers, as well as to the specific officer in charge of the particular
> > individuals involved. Finally, the anklet could be designed to emit an
> > on-going audible alarm whenever the spatial or temporal conditions of
> > probation or incarceration had been breached. In this way, people near
> > the offender would be alerted to the presence of a parole violator.
> The software to run this system would be far more complex than it seems at
> first glance, but I think it is (just) within the limits of what we can
> currently do.

If its on the cellular network, the wearer is banned from areas covered by cell x,y and z, but is allowed in areas covered by cells a,b and c. Using cell zones is easier than using zip codes.

> One problem with implementing it right now: I asume that any communication
> failure is going to be interpreted by the system as a parole violation
> (otherwise there are too many ways to spoof it). Given the low reliability
> of current wireless systems and battery technology, this means false alarms
> would be fairly common.

Only if it doesn't have a tolerance built in. Say 5 minutes. The wearer is notified when a signal is lost, and they MUST get to a hardwired station to report their location within that time frame.

Mike Lorrey