Correctional Service Canada plans to roll out electronic anklets to monitor parolees – even though its own pilot project found the devices did not work as hoped.
A Correctional Service Canada study found the GPS anklets do not change offenders’ behaviour, create more work for parole officers and have numerous technical problems – including false alarms and a tendency to show people to be somewhere they are not.
“You’re doing more intervention unnecessarily, catching people in the corrections net who perhaps don’t require it,” James Bonta, director of Public Safety’s research unit, told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security earlier this year.
Proponents say monitoring keeps the public safe by ensuring convicts toe the line. Others say that while the anklets are effective in some circumstances for high-risk offenders, they don’t alter a parolee’s behaviour; also, by the time officers are notified of a violation, it may be too late to apprehend the person in the act.
“We sometimes think of technology as being perfect. It is not perfect,” Mr. Bonta said. “Overall, if I look at the whole body of evidence, I don’t think” the anklets make communities safer.
So why bother? Other than ‘security-theater’-type reasons, of course…