Life On An Ankle Monitor In Alabama: $10 A Day and ‘Inevitable Imperfections


Smith has had difficulty keeping up with court-ordered payments, and her ankle monitor payments take up $520 of her monthly social security benefits. 

Many state and local governments have shifted the cost of incarceration from the government onto the person being monitored. In 2020, Brittany Smith pleaded guilty for the murder of a man she testified raped her. The state gave her 18 months in jail, followed by another 18 months on house arrest. Smith paid $10 a day for ankle monitoring for the first seven months on house arrest. Additionally, she was charged $50 per month for drug testing and $40 a month for her state probation officer. Recently, Smith was jailed for 39 days and lost her job after the Jackson County Community Corrections office reported Smith’s ankle monitor hadn’t transmitted her location for three days due to water damage. Smith testified that she did not know the monitor malfunctioned, and no state agency regulates or oversees the use of ankle monitors to help avoid such errors. While on house arrest, Smith faces 17 years in prison if she gets another technical violation. Under the conditions of house arrest Smith is prohibited from asking for permission to leave home for any reason other than attending work, job interviews, court-related requirements, medical appointments, and court-ordered visitation with her children. Although seen as an alternative, “e-incarceration” is still a form of incarceration that allows individuals to violate their conditions easily and have their probation revoked.

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Ashley Remkus
Advance Local Media LLC