Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Vanessa Tyson

Reader 2

Nancy Neiman

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


This article examines the political reasons for the increased use of electronic monitoring (EM) for justice-involved individuals since the early 2000s. While the use of electronic monitoring increased by 140% between 2005-2015,[1] the lack of scholarship on this substantial growth is abysmal. Furthermore, the limited contemporary scholarship largely focuses on the impacts of electronic supervision on recidivism rates or government spending. Methods and practices of incarceration cannot be fully understood without a broader analysis of political conflicts, stakeholder demands, and corporate influences. To determine the political motivators behind the increased use of electronic monitoring devices., I analyze historical and contemporary examples of federal and state policy that increased the use of electronic monitoring, as well as evaluate the rhetoric utilized by the largest manufacturers of EM devices in contrast with the rhetoric of advocacy groups and nonprofits. The precipitous growth of electronic monitoring in the 21st century results from successful attempts by private prisons and governments officials to leverage the growing strength of the criminal justice reform movement to reframe and justify the use of electronic monitoring devices. By portraying electronic monitoring as aligned with popular demands for reform, governments and corporations alike have succeeded in promoting and expanding this practice.

[1] Pew Research Center. (2016). Use of Electronic Offender-Tracking Devices Expands Sharply Retrieved from:

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.