Many of the most progressive countries in the world are making use of technology to promote rehabilitation and reduce incarceration. Yet blue states like Massachusetts and left-leaning advocacy organizations remain hostile to use of electronic monitoring (EM) methods. They are overlooking the benefits of EM—even from a progressive standpoint.
Progressives’ typically formulated criminal justice goal is laudatory: to minimize incarceration consistent with public safety, and to maximize the rehabilitation of offenders. But achieving these ends has been, to say the least, problematic.
Progressives commonly urge more addiction treatment and mental health services as steps toward rehabilitation. These treatments might be beneficial for many ex-offenders, but by themselves they are unlikely to sharply curtail recidivism.
Vocational training is also useful, but success measured by societal reintegration of ex-offenders is unproven. Despite all that we’ve learned about rehabilitation over the last five decades, the inescapable fact is that over 80% of all prisoners are rearrested for new crimes at some point after they are released.