An ankle bracelet, also known as an ankle monitor, is an electronic monitoring device. It is commonly worn by criminal offenders sentenced to house arrest, parole or probation. Other uses for ankle bracelets include monitoring alcohol consumption and the whereabouts of undocumented immigrants who are facing removal from the United States.
What an Ankle Bracelet Does
An ankle bracelet transmits the wearer's location via radio frequency or global positioning system to an off-site monitoring location. Typically, the device can't be removed without risk of triggering an alarm to law enforcement. If the offender travels outside of a set geographic area, such as the city in which he lives, this also triggers an alarm.
When a person is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances, the judge can order him to wear an ankle bracelet either instead of serving jail time or in addition to it. Ankle bracelets assigned in connection to a DUI case can monitor alcohol consumption. The bracelet tests the offender's perspiration for the presence of alcohol, often every hour. The information is then uploaded to a central computer database where it is tracked by law enforcement.
Condition of House Arrest
Judges sometimes order house arrest, also known as residential confinement, as an alternative to jail or as a condition of parole or probation. In some states, like Nevada, eligibility may be limited to those who have not violated any prison rules, if incarcerated, or who have not committed a sex or violent crime. An offender may also be granted house arrest if he is in ill health or physically incapacitated. In the case of house arrest, the ankle monitor tracks the whereabouts of the offender in relation to his home. Depending on the terms of his house arrest, the offender may also be permitted to travel to certain locations outside the home, such as his place of employment, community service location, treatment center and church. Traveling outside of a permitted area, however, will typically trigger an alarm to law enforcement.
Alternative to Immigration Detention
If a person is in the U.S. illegally and facing removal proceedings, also known as deportation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will sometimes permit the person to remain free until the removal hearing rather than in an immigration detention center. Generally, an immigrant will qualify if his detention is not required by law, if he is not a danger to the community and if he is a low flight risk. As a condition of remaining free, the immigrant must wear an ankle bracelet so ICE can monitor his whereabouts at all times. Supervision may also include unannounced visits by immigration officials.