Recently published on SSRN (and forthcoming in the Journal or Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 108, No.1):
DAN HUNTER, Swinburne Law Schoo
GABRIELLE WOLF, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia - Deakin Law School
The alternative to prison that we propose involves the fusion of three technological systems. First, offenders would be required to wear electronic ankle bracelets that monitor their location and ensure they do not move outside of the geographical areas to which they would be confined. Second, prisoners would be compelled to wear sensors so that unlawful or suspicious activity could be monitored remotely and by computers. Third, conducted energy devices would be used remotely to immobilize prisoners who attempt to escape their areas of confinement or commit other crimes.
The integrated systems described in this Article could lead to the closure of more than ninety-five percent of prisons in the United States. We demonstrate that the technological and surveillance devices can achieve all of the appropriate objectives of imprisonment, including both the imposition of proportionate punishment and also community protection.
In our proposal, only offenders who have committed capital offenses or their equivalents, or who attempt to escape from technological custody would remain in conventional bricks-and-mortar prisons. As a result, our proposal would convert prisons from a major societal industry to a curious societal anomaly. If these reforms are implemented, the United States would spend a fraction of the amount currently expended on conventional prisons on a normatively superior mechanism for dealing with society’s criminals.