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Electronic Monitoring Reduces Recidivism

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2011
4 pages

This Florida study examined the impact of electronic monitoring of offenders on recidivism; offender attitudes; and offenders' family life, employment, and social life.


This study of Florida offenders placed on electronic monitoring found that such monitoring significantly reduced the likelihood of failure under community supervision. The decline in the risk of failure was approximately 31 percent compared with offenders placed on other forms of community supervision. The quantitative analysis showed significant decreases in the failure rate for all groups of offenders and all age groups; however, it had less of an impact on violent offenders than on sex, property, drug, and other types of offenders; still, the effect remained statistically significant even for violent offenders. Electronic monitoring based on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) typically had more of an effect of reducing failure to comply than radio frequency (RF) systems. Administrators viewed electronic monitoring as a tool that helps probation officers do their jobs, not as a replacement for personal contact with offenders. Many probation officers and offenders believed that electronic monitoring had a negative impact on their intimate partners, because it created an inconvenience and posed a visible stigmatizing reaction from others. In addition, most offenders said they felt a sense of shame about being under electronic monitoring and felt they were unfairly stigmatized. Some said media reports about electronic monitoring focus mostly on sex crimes, which may lead the public to believe that everyone who is monitored is a sex offender. Both offenders and officers believed that the visibility of the monitoring systems makes it much more difficult for offenders to obtain and keep a job. This study compared the experience of more than 5,000 medium-risk and high-risk offenders who were monitored electronically to more than 266,000 offenders who were not placed on monitoring. The study covered a 6-year period. In addition, the researchers interviewed offenders, probation officers, supervisors, and administrators. 1 note

Date Published: September 1, 2011