Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Cages Without Bars Are Widening the Net: The Explosion of Electronic Monitoring


by James Kilgore and Brian Dolinar

Electronic monitoring (EM) is rapidly expanding throughout the criminal legal system. COVID-19 is partly responsible for this. The pandemic precipitated jailers’ use of monitors to reduce the number of people in overcrowded cells. In Harris County, Texas alone, the number of people on pretrial monitors escalated from 27 in 2019 to over 4,000 in 2021.

The Feds deployed monitors as well, releasing about 40,000 people on home confinement between March of 2020 and fall of 2021. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stats showed an increase of their cohort on cellphone-based monitors from just over 86,000 in December of 2020 to more than 247,000 in September 2022.

While these few key data points are useful in drawing the landscape of EM, in reality we still have little information on this technology. The clandestine ethos that dominates the criminal legal system applies in the extreme to electronic monitoring. No national count of either people on monitors or the number of active devices exists. The majority of states and most local jurisdictions don’t produce data or any sort of reports. Furthermore, because electronic monitoring contracts typically involve a specific county or state, putting together these totals from all 50 states and their nearly 3,000 counties is a daunting task. In all too many cases educated guesses are the best we can do for generating “hard” data.

In the past two years, important advances in filling this information void have taken place. Work by academics such as law professor Kate Weisburd and her students at George Washington University Law School, Alicia Virani of UCLA Law School, along with the deep dives by Mijente, Just Futures Law and their partners into the Big Tech players in the immigration monitoring business have shed important light on the world of EM.

In addition, Community Justice Exchange and Media Justice have produced toolkits, workbooks and their own reports to assist people battling EM and the technologies of surveillance at the grassroots level. When combined with the largest database of all, the stories of the lived experience of EM from thousands of people, we are finally beginning to establish a foundation of knowledge on this technology. Most importantly, we are starting to connect the dots among the sectors where EM proliferates: pretrial, immigration, post-prison and juvenile justice.

This enables us to place this technology more accurately in the context of the criminal legal system as well as situating EM in the surveillance state. This new research, along with the contents of the recently released research report, Cages Without Bars, which will be discussed at length here, not only provides more information but can help build more effective strategies to challenge electronic monitoring and other technologies of punishment and control, often referred to as “e-carceration.”

Cages Without Bars

The state of Illinois has become the cutting edge of the struggle against pretrial electronic monitoring, particularly in Cook County. Since 2017, the abolitionist Chicago Community Bond Fund, and later the Illinois Coalition to End Money Bond and the Pretrial Justice Network, have tied the issue of electronic monitoring to the overall move to end money bond and pretrial detention. By highlighting the experiences of individuals like Lavette Mayes and Timothy Williams on pretrial electronic monitoring, the Bond Fund and their allies have refused to accept electronic monitoring with house arrest as an “alternative.” Instead, they have fought to publicly define EM as “home incarceration” and exposed the practice of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart of imposing house arrest on individuals placed on electronic monitors.

Dart has also repeatedly characterized people on EM as prone to committing violent crimes. As early as 2017, the Bond Fund began creating a counter-narrative, circulating the stories of the ways in which EM regimes limited individual freedom. In their 2017 report, Punishment Is Not a Service, the Bond Fund began to frame EM as part of a set of conditions that amounted to a “form of pretrial punishment” that often mimicked the impact of jail. This work on EM blended into further campaign and research work, the most well-known outcome of which ended up in the passage of the 2021 Pretrial Fairness Act (PFA). This law made Illinois the first state to end the use of money bond.

A lesser-known component of the PFA was harm-reduction stipulations directed at electronic monitoring. These guaranteed at least two days a week of free movement for individuals on a monitor to take care of basic needs such as food shopping and laundry, as well as ensuring a full-fledged court hearing before placing someone on pretrial EM. If the court wants to extend the period of pretrial EM beyond 60 days, the PFA demands the court hold a second hearing.

The efforts of the Bond Fund and its allies, inspired by the systemic critiques that emerged from the 2020 uprisings, precipitated a wave of deeper research into pretrial electronic monitoring. Two reports are especially important in this regard. First came the Chicago Appleseed document, 10 Facts About Pretrial Electronic Monitoring in Cook County. Written by Appleseed Policy Director Sarah Staudt, this was the first research to produce data that definitively debunked two of the myths of pretrial electronic monitoring: that it helped reduce the incidents of failure to appear for court appearances and that people released on pretrial EM are highly likely to commit another crime.

After 10 Facts came a larger, nationally focused project, which ultimately produced Cages Without Bars. The MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge provided funding for the research. The team for this study included Illinois-based lawyers, researchers and impacted activists. Patrice James, then of the Shriver Center, directed the project, with Sarah Staudt leading a research team that included Gabriela Kirk, plus formerly incarcerated researcher and EM survivor Emmett Sanders and James Kilgore, both of MediaJustice. The project emphasized gathering the viewpoints and experience from system players (judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, pretrial officials and elected officials) who had direct involvement in implementing electronic monitoring. These inside-the-tent views were to be complemented by interview material from pretrial justice advocates and individuals who had been placed on electronic monitoring.


The original intention was to conduct site visits, complementing individual and focus-group interviews in each jurisdiction with survey material. The team selected nine communities that were part of the Safety and Justice Challenge and were using EM: Baltimore, Maryland; Bernalillo County, New Mexico; Cook County, Illinois; Franklin County, Ohio; Marion County, Indiana; Multnomah County, Oregon; Los Angeles County, California; Orleans Parish, Louisiana; and the state of Connecticut.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic restricted travel and made accessing people in these places difficult. In many jurisdictions the court system shut down, leaving researchers able only to leave voicemails. The plan to contact impacted folks through activist networks also collapsed due to COVID-19. Many organizations had shut down or operated with reduced capacity. Others joined mass mobilization or turned to pandemic-related care work and had little interest in discussing electronic monitoring. Despite the obstacles, the team succeeded in speaking to 35 system players in the nine jurisdictions, nearly all via Zoom. In some instances when researchers were not able to gain much information through interviews, they relied on Internet searches and Freedom of Information Act requests.

The team’s findings revealed little uniformity in processes of EM initiatives. Some of this related to the differences in the number of people on EM, which ranged from 3,450 people in Cook County to just 100 people in Bernalillo County. But more of the contrasts stemmed from the local history of the criminal legal system. That variety surfaced in terms of decision-making processes, budgetary decisions, selection criteria for placing people on EM, the level of EM company involvement and the extent of deployment of EM.

All jurisdictions had contractual agreements with firms that provided EM devices. However, some jurisdictions had exclusive contracts with one company, while Orleans Parish and Baltimore had several firms involved. A variety of administration methods existed, too. Cook County handled nearly all operational details through its own staff, while Orleans Parish outsourced the bulk of this work to private firms.

Six of the sites had pretrial services programs which administered EM and handled case management. But in two of those, Cook County and Multnomah County, the Sheriff’s office was also involved in case management. Two jurisdictions, Cook County and Baltimore, had two EM programs under different authorities.

Five jurisdictions made use of “exclusions zones,” digitally creating areas in real-world geography that the person on the monitor was not allowed to enter. In terms of determining who would be placed on a monitor, two jurisdictions made use of the Public Safety Risk Assessment tool to make that decision. Others left it up to a judge’s discretion.

There was also variety in terms of how jurisdictions responded to violations of EM rules. The absence of systematic record-keeping made precise evaluations of these practices difficult. In at least one jurisdiction, lawyers for individuals who were rearrested due to an EM rule violation were not informed, learning about the arrest only at the next court appearance.

The comment one judge made about EM policy could apply to the operating and decision-making procedures in all the jurisdictions: “Not all us judges do things in the same way … and it’s very difficult to develop policy that everybody adheres to, with just the changing personnel on the bench, with the lack of real formal education training, it’s sort of all on the job.”


Despite the variety in administrative structures and decision-making processes, there were five areas of uniformity. The first was that all programs were infused with a punitive ethos. This notion was especially reflected in our conclusion that electronic monitoring causes “immense harm.” Central to this harm was the fact that every jurisdiction used house arrest as part of the EM regime. Electronic monitoring, though often labeled an alternative to incarceration, placed a plethora of restrictions on people’s lives, limiting their movement, their access to employment, their ability to connect with family and community.

In the end, the team labeled EM as another form of incarceration. Interviews with impacted individuals revealed deep-seated resentment about the harms done by EM.

“It’s like saying ‘you gotta walk five miles every day, but I’m putting a rock in your shoe, and you don’t get to fuck with the rock.’”

“They don’t care about you in jail, they don’t care about you out of jail, and they damn sure don’t care about you on EM.”

“I would never have guessed it would be so mentally draining to have that stupid monitor on.”

“If there is anything going on in your life, EM makes it worse.”

In many cases, the harm related to the movement restrictions described above. But the dimensions of harm extended even deeper into people’s lives. The report suggested that “people experience an intense level of stress attempting to maintain their lives under the duress of electronic monitoring.” This stress emerged from the carceral quality of EM regimes, leading to this conclusion: “EM mirrors jail … it is an invasive tool that not only surveils accused people but also their family members.”

The harms done were related to what the team referred to as the “overly stringent and unclear” rules that existed in all nine jurisdictions. In particular, “movement decisions were often made arbitrarily, based on the information provided and a subjective determination about acceptable or unacceptable activity.” For some judges, a parent spending time with their children outside the home might be acceptable, while for others that may be deemed an unnecessary privilege.

Another dimension of the harm done was an increased dependency on loved ones or associates, which often amounted to infantilization of the person on the monitor. One individual reported having to pay someone to go and buy them toilet paper because they were not allowed out of the house.

But psychologically, the biggest issue was the constant state of fear people on the monitor and their loved ones experienced. These fears ranged from the possibility of being falsely accused of breaking the rules and ending up back in jail to the concern that the sound of the alarm on their monitor might trigger embarrassment or humiliation by sounding off in a work setting or when picking up a child from school.

Racism added yet another dimension to the harms of EM. Only one jurisdiction, Cook County, kept a racial breakdown of its EM population. Not surprisingly, the disproportionate presence of Black people in jail was virtually equal to the disproportionality of Black people on EM. Black people comprised about 70% of both the jail and EM population while making up just 25% of the county’s people. Even in the absence of more data on racial disparities, pretrial officials and defense lawyers told the team that “not all individuals receive the same treatment while on electronic monitoring.” They noted that “Black, Indigenous and Latino/a/x clients, especially the younger clients were given more conditions and less movement than white clients.”

The third area of uniformity was the poor design and functioning of EM devices. Most devices required extensive battery charging each day, often more demanding than charging a phone. Every person we interviewed who had been on the device noted technical malfunctions, typically resulting in reporting the person’s location incorrectly. In one instance incorrect location tracking resulted in the reincarceration of the individual involved.

The organizers of electronic monitoring initiatives seemed to operate under the very mistaken assumption that those on EM have stable housing and a reliable source of electricity. Yet, this was not the case in many instances. People who were housing-insecure often had to resort to hanging out at McDonald’s or looking for outlets in public spaces to keep their device charged. In many jurisdictions, the agreement signed by the user included a demand that the device be charged every day for two consecutive hours and that the individual not fall asleep while the charging was taking place.

Fourth, none of the jurisdictions the team researched had ever done any kind of assessment or evaluation of any aspect of the impact of electronic monitoring. They offered no studies linking EM use to recidivism, no data on the number of false alerts the devices triggered, no descriptions of any physical harm done by ankle monitors, no studies of their own EM initiatives compared to those in other jurisdictions. In short there was no evidence that either the companies or the political decision makers involved had any sense of accountability for the use of these devices or the expenditure of tax dollars on electronic monitors.

The fifth uniformity was perhaps the only one that genuinely caught the team by surprise: among all the 35 people the team interviewed, regardless of where they were in the pretrial process, no one stepped forward as an advocate of electronic monitoring. None viewed it in a positive light.


The majority of the research team self-identified as abolitionists. This created dilemmas in terms of recommendations. In developing these recommendations, the team attempted to apply the notion of non-reformist reform. That is, they crafted recommendations that didn’t deepen the power of law enforcement and the courts.

Unlike most research on electronic monitoring, Cages made it clear that the researchers’ ultimate goal was the end of electronic monitoring — that no amount of tinkering, reform, or revision could convert this punitive technology into something useful. Hence, they chose the title Cages Without Bars, indicating their sentiments about the technology. This also meant they did not make recommendations to improve the “efficiency” of the technology. The fact that many devices incorrectly reported an individual’s location did not motivate them to advocate for more accurate and efficient location tracking. Rather, in the absence of the elimination of electronic monitoring, they sought to reduce the harm done by electronic monitoring without further entrenching the power of the criminal legal system. The team described their thought processes in designing the recommendations this way:

“Although criminal legal system reformers and many prison abolitionists recognize harm reduction as a necessary tool for change, currently the primary outcome of EM is not harm reduction but rather creating new forms of punishment.

“EM has been used in the United States for over 40 years, and the technology is forever changing and modernizing — but the harm EM causes has not changed.

“The harms caused by EM to people and communities are so great that EM cannot be ‘reformed’ or adapted into a practice that is no longer fundamentally carceral, punitive, and harmful. The goal must be to end its use.

“We recognize, however, that immediate elimination of electronic monitoring may not be possible in most jurisdictions. Many programs have been entrenched for many years, earn profits for powerful people, and in poorly resourced communities may represent the only option available apart from incarceration in a jail cell. In such situations, we support policies of harm reduction that reduce the punitive character of EM and provide pretrial defendants ample freedom to work, seek medical care, join in family and community activities, and take part in recreation.”

This approach yielded the following recommendations:

EM programs should be tested rigorously and used sparingly to ensure their effectiveness.

EM programs should allow “movement” as a default and not operate as house arrest programs.

EM programs should not require onerous verification when GPS technology may already serve as ample verification.

EM programs should not pass fees onto the accused.

EM programs should ensure people receive credit for time served on the monitor.

EM programs should be overseen and administered by government authorities, not private companies.

EM programs should not place someone on a monitor or reincarcerate people accused of violating rules without due process.

EM programs should prioritize data privacy and safety for people on the monitor and restrict commodification of data without consent.

EM programs should commit to a robust system of transparent data collection in their operations, with a special focus on the racial impact of EM. To this end, community stakeholders and impacted individuals should be mobilized to hold EM programs accountable.

EM programs should have clear criteria that incorporate due process to determine who is placed on EM, for how long, and under what conditions.

Furthermore, we recommend that in the courtroom, defense lawyers seek to reduce EM usage by zealously advocating on their clients’ behalf, using legal precedent to ensure search warrants are utilized before law enforcement pulls GPS data from a pretrial monitored individual. Affirmative litigation is also a promising avenue for reducing the harm caused by EM programs. Finally, legislative advocacy is a tool that can ensure EM practices comport with set standards and practices or lead to ending EM programs altogether.

The team’s research methods and conclusions have important implications for further work on EM, especially research. The first and most important was the creation of a team led by people with considerable involvement with the issue of electronic monitoring, from those who had been subjected to electronic monitoring to lawyers who had defended people on EM in court to researchers who had a deep background in campaigning on the issue. For them this was not an abstract piece of work focused on conference presentations, production of a report for intellectual peers or generating material for career advancement. Rather, this research aimed to provide foundational information for those involved in campaign work focused on pretrial justice and the place of electronic monitoring within that context.

Team members’ direct experience of EM enabled them to develop a rapport with their counterparts in the chosen jurisdictions. The research was as much about building relationships as it was about gathering data. Hence, while the team members had a survey instrument to guide their work, they often went “off script” to delve deeper into the complexity of the operation and impact of electronic monitoring.

Further Reflections
by James Kilgore

While the report brought considerable new information, during this research several other reflections about EM surfaced that are crucial to placing this technology in the world of mass incarceration and the surveillance state. These are not part of the report and represent my personal views rather than those of the research team.

First, EM is growing but prisons and jails are not going away. Despite the massive increase in the use of EM, intrusive technology is not making prisons and jails disappear. While COVID-19 prompted temporary reductions in prison and jail populations, these reductions came about more from system slowdowns due to pandemic restrictions, rather than permanent policy changes. As we move out of those pandemic restrictions, as the courts have reopened for business, admissions to jails and prisons are rising again.

Moreover, several states and counties have used federal COVID-19 relief funds for jail and prison construction. From Cheatham County, Tennessee, which set aside $7.9 million for jail expansion, to the state of Alabama’s allocation of $400 million in relief funds to construct two new “mega” prisons, notions of building new carceral facilities or “upgrading” existing ones are alive and well.

Overall, the spread of electronic monitoring is far more about widening the captor’s net than decarceration. To fully understand what is happening, we need to acknowledge that despite propaganda and promotion, electronic monitoring is not an alternative, not a diversion, not a new way of doing things. Electronic monitoring and the usual regimes of house arrest that accompany tracking technology are another form of incarceration — locking people in their houses, shifting the costs of daily living under incarceration from departments of corrections and county authorities to family members or other loved ones, while turning residential space into carceral space. The expansion of electronic monitoring is driven by the punitive ethos that still dominates the criminal legal system and the urge to profiteer that drives the companies in the EM sector. Proponents may package EM as reform, but its essence remains punishment and control.

Devices Becoming More Intrusive

In the research for Cages Without Bars, the team encountered only GPS and Radio Frequency ankle monitors. Yet in other jurisdictions, the technology of electronic monitoring is evolving. The early devices in the 1980s all used radio frequency. They told the authorities only whether a person was at home. In the early 2000s, manufacturers started adding GPS trackers to generate real time location data. Today, though we have little precise data, a 2015 survey from The Pew Charitable Trusts — Use of Electronic Offender-Tracking Devices Expands Sharply — plus a reading of contracts between authorities and EM companies, combined with stories from the lived experience of the monitored population, tell us that the majority of monitors have a location tracking capacity.

But this evolution is moving much further and faster. The most important development involves cellphone apps that incorporate location tracking, face and voice recognition and the ability to have two-way conversations through the monitoring device. Though these are still not dominant in the pretrial setting, ICE has almost entirely shifted to the BI SmartLINK. Developed by GEO Group subsidiary BI Inc., it uses a cellphone app requiring either a face or voice ID to log in. Currently, we have no way of knowing what other data the SmartLINK is pulling off people’s phones while their location is being tracked to monitor their conformance to the rules of the game. However, the work of Kentrell Owens in his report, Electronic Monitoring Smartphone Apps, along with reports from Mijente and Just Futures Law, among others, informs us that these devices are capturing personal data for a private market that includes both law enforcement and vendors.

Ultimately, these devices are not only designed to expand the carceral footprint but to gather more data on the population, especially the criminalized sector of the population — a disproportionately Black, brown and poor sector living at the margins of the economy if they are not locked up.

EM Is Part of the Surveillance State

Electronic monitors are not simply a tool of the criminal legal or immigration systems. They are links to the world of the surveillance state, part of a family of devices that Department of Homeland Security Fusion centers and others use to target the criminalized: facial recognition, license plate readers, street cameras, drones and weaponized databases. These can be lumped under the category of “e-carceration.”

When we look at a plastic shackle on someone’s ankle, we need to place this in a universe beyond that individual’s leg or even their criminal history. The state is using that device to punish and control — to limit an individual’s access to employment, housing, healthcare, credit and state benefits. Surveillance technology squeezes those who are targeted while providing a protective bubble around the privileged. Knowing where the poor folks are at any given moment, knowing where the Black folks or immigrants are at any given moment, acts as an insurance policy, a way to keep the marginalized on their side of the physical and digital tracks.

As these devices expand their capacity, they will increasingly grab more data, develop new biometrics to weaponize by incorporating them into predictive and punitive algorithms, find new ways to profit off the bodies of the criminalized in particular but off the general population as well. This is ultimately about constructing new class- and race-based barriers to ensure the continued consolidation of privilege and wealth.

How Do We Respond?

As Cages Without Bars highlighted, there are two approaches to critically addressing electronic monitoring: abolition and harm reduction. Currently there are likely no jurisdictions where the political power exists to eliminate the use of electronic monitoring. In 2019 in Illinois, I worked with a coalition of people to get a bill through the state legislature that would have banned the use of electronic monitors on anyone who came out of the state prison system except individuals for whom the law mandated EM during parole.

The motivation behind the bill was that EM was a form of punishment, and once a person had done their time, they should be free to move, not be tethered to their house under movement restrictions. At the time there were about 2,500 people on electronic monitors as a condition of their mandatory supervised release (Illinois’ version of post-prison supervision). Our coalition of advocates, impacted individuals and supportive legislators managed to get the bill passed in the House. However, COVID-19 came and short-circuited the subsequent legislative session, and our attempt to pass it through the Senate. By the time the state legislature returned to some form of normality, our coalition members had moved onto other issues. To my knowledge, no other jurisdiction has passed such a bill, either. However, that campaign did lead to a marked reduction in the use of EM by the Illinois Parole Department as well as the passage of SB 0836, which mandated authorities to file an annual report on the post-prison EM program. While the law did pass, no such report has been filed to date.

In addition, there have been numerous efforts to reduce the harm done by electronic monitors, many of them in line with the recommendations of Cages Without Bars. Organizers have employed three tactics:

First, advocates have fought for legislation at the local level to limit or eliminate user fees for electronic monitoring. In California, AB 1869 eliminates 23 user fees in the criminal legal system, including those for EM.

Second, advocates have struggled to obtain increased movement for people who are on EM. The default situation of 24/7 house arrest, which has dominated in Cook County and many other sites, is unacceptable. This virtually eliminates gainful employment, connecting to the community or exploring new career opportunities. In addition, such restrictions place enormous burdens on family members who may be compelled to do tasks like shopping and laundry for adults who cannot get out of the house frequently enough to handle those responsibilities. A variety of individuals and organized efforts have attempted to reduce the harm done by movement restrictions, whether it be helping someone go to work, to take their child to school or to seek medical attention. Political pressure has forced some jurisdictions to create a list of purposes for which a person must be given movement. The 2021 Illinois Pretrial Fairness Act includes, in addition to two days a week of guaranteed movement, a list of eight different activities for which movement should be granted.

Third, statewide pretrial legislation can be crafted that eliminates or reduces the harm done by electronic monitoring. Local authorities in New York, especially those outside New York City, had been expanding EM use until the 2019 Bail Elimination Act, which banned the use of local government funds to pay for the services of private EM companies. Since private EM companies are essentially the only providers, this effectively served as a ban on EM.

These harm reduction methods require research and mobilization. But, as noted, EM companies and political decision makers have kept the details of electronic monitoring under wraps. So the bulk of the research cited here feeds into a harm reduction approach. However, an abolitionist approach does not preclude reform tactics or research. Rather, a certain framework can be applied to advocate for harm reduction while keeping in mind a long-term goal of eliminating the use of e-carceration. The long run idea is not to fall into the trap of accepting that EM is the best we can do, that it is “better than jail” as so many people claim, but that there is a third option that we fight for in the long run: freedom.

Research Is Not the Solution

The explosion of EM research in recent years has created a critical mass of data to detail the punitive qualities of EM. This data unequivocally demonstrates that electronic monitoring is not an alternative to incarceration but an alternative form of incarceration, backed by a narrative not supported by evidence. Without this research, and the further research it will doubtlessly spawn, we cannot combat electronic monitoring nor correctly place it in its genuine context as part of the surveillance state. Just as Michelle Alexander, Marc Mauer and others used a vast array of data to lay the groundwork for our understanding of how mass incarceration disproportionately impacted the Black population, so too can research on electronic monitoring set the foundation for intensifying the struggle against electronic monitoring and the other forms of e-carceration.

But as the cohort of researchers focused on electronic monitoring and e-carceration grows, a new set of concerns may arise. First, in the absence of conditions where mass organizing against EM can emerge, activists may begin to conflate research and mobilization. Research is a necessary tool for transforming the criminal legal system, but it is just one tool in the toolbox. Research is not the solution. Data can be used by people fighting for power, but data by itself is not power. Neither are research reports. Those need to fuse with an agenda of mobilization and organization to create change.

Second, if the conflation of data and power grows, so too does the disproportionate power of intellectual and academic work begin to occupy center stage of the struggle rather than remaining as a supporting element to activists, advocates and their organizations, especially those led by the impacted population. As an activist, a formerly incarcerated person, a survivor of EM and a researcher, I will continue to strive to squeeze more data and information out of the state and EM companies while also working to build organizations on the ground that can inject that data into transformative policies, campaigns and struggles. 

Additional sources: Community Justice Exchange, ICE Detention Management Statistics, Injustice Watch, Just Futures Law, Kate Weisburd, MediaJustice, Mijente, Prison Policy Initiative

James Kilgore is a formerly incarcerated writer and activist based in Urbana, Illinois. He is a researcher for MediaJustice’s Challenging E-Carceration project, a director of FirstFollowers Reentry Program and the author of six books, including Understanding E-Carceration. He is also a father of two sons, grandfather of two girls and a lifelong partner of historian Teresa Barnes.

Brian Dolinar, Ph.D., is an independent journalist living in Urbana, Illinois. He works on issues of mass incarceration and immigration. His articles have appeared in Counterpunch, In These Times, Prison Legal News, The Progressive and Truthout. For more, see

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login