Surveillance and Confinement: Explaining and Understanding The Experience of Electronically Monitored Curfews

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    Abstract

    Electronic monitoring (EM) is now widely used in Western Europe, but its precise nature as a distinct form of penal sanction remains unclear. Since its advent in the USA in the 1980s, it has been most commonly characterized as a form of confinement and seen as an analogue of imprisonment. The names it had been given - 'home detention', 'community custody' and 'curfew', for example - reflect this view. The surveillant aspects of EM have been vaguely acknowledged, but have relied on dubious ocular metaphors, and remain undertheorised. This paper will argue that EM should be understood primarily as a particular form and experience of surveillance, because the precise regulatory regime which it imposes on offenders (including the element of confinement) is only made possible by remote sensing technology, and has collateral effects alongside confinement. The paper concludes by tentatively placing this new, surveillant conceptualization of EM within contemporary debates on the changing nature of penalty.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages41-65
    Number of pages24
    JournalEuropean Journal of Probation
    Volume1
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Fingerprint

    surveillance
    electronics
    monitoring
    experience
    imprisonment
    child custody
    Western Europe
    sanction
    offender
    penalty
    metaphor
    community

    Keywords

    • electronic monitoring
    • surveillance
    • curfew
    • offender perspective
    • discipline

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Electronic monitoring (EM) is now widely used in Western Europe, but its precise nature as a distinct form of penal sanction remains unclear. Since its advent in the USA in the 1980s, it has been most commonly characterized as a form of confinement and seen as an analogue of imprisonment. The names it had been given - 'home detention', 'community custody' and 'curfew', for example - reflect this view. The surveillant aspects of EM have been vaguely acknowledged, but have relied on dubious ocular metaphors, and remain undertheorised. This paper will argue that EM should be understood primarily as a particular form and experience of surveillance, because the precise regulatory regime which it imposes on offenders (including the element of confinement) is only made possible by remote sensing technology, and has collateral effects alongside confinement. The paper concludes by tentatively placing this new, surveillant conceptualization of EM within contemporary debates on the changing nature of penalty.",
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