Volume 69 Number 1
Federal Probation

Electronic Monitoring: Positive Intervention Strategies

Families and Children

Electronic Monitoring: Positive Intervention Strategies

1 Family name, “Schwitzgebel,” legally changed to “Gable” in 1982.

2 The licensed radio system (KA2XYS-Los Angeles) had two 12-watt base stations operating at a frequency of 165.395 mHz and four 1-watt belt units operating at 164.980 mHz. A 6x3x2-inch transceiver was housed in a leather belt that also contained an antenna and a 3.4-inch vibrating coil.

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Families and Children

An earlier version of sections of this chapter appeared in the introductory essay of Travis and Waul (2003).

1 This is a single-day prevalence and does not take into account minor children whose parents were previously incarcerated; it accounts only for those who are currently incarcerated in state and federal prisons in 2002.

2 Public Law 105-89.

3 Figures do not total 100 percent because some prisoners had children living with multiple care-givers.

4 Elizabeth Gaynes, conversation with the author, June 22, 2004. Cited with permission.

5 The Michigan restrictions were challenged in court as unconstitutional because they violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process, the First Amendment’s guarantee of free association, and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court upheld the regulations, finding that the restrictions “bear a rational relation to the [department of correction’s] valid interests in maintaining internal security and protecting child visitors from exposure to sexual or other misconduct or from accidental injury.... To reduce the number of child visitors, a line must be drawn, and the categories set out by these regulations are reasonable” (Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 94 [2003]).

6 The definition of who can visit or take children to visit is an even bigger problem in light of cultural traditions, i.e., the extended family network and fictive kin arrangements that exist in many African-American families. Family duties and responsibilities are shared among a group of individuals; e.g., a young uncle may be expected to take on the father’s role and do things such as take the child to a game or on a prison visit while the grand-mother provides day-to-day care and an aunt with a “good” job provides financial subsidies. Apparently this perspective was either not presented or ignored as unimportant in the Michigan case (Personal communication with Creasie Finney Hairston, January 6, 2004).

7 Missouri has announced that its next contract with prison telephone systems will not include a commission for the state. The Ohio prison system entered into a contract that will reduce the cost of prison phone calls by 15 percent. California will reduce most prisoner phone calls by 25 percent. In 2001, the Georgia Public Service Commission ordered telephone providers to reduce the rates for prisoner calls from a $3.95 connection fee and a rate of $0.69 per minute to a $2.20 connection fee and a rate of $0.35 per minute. The new telephone contract for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections will reduce the average cost of a 15-minute telephone call by 30 percent. And litigation has been initiated in a number of states—including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Washing-ton, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia—to reduce the cost of prison phone calls and kick-backs to the state (eTc Campaign 2003).

8 The Children of Offenders study and the Jailed Mothers study both had small sample sizes and were not randomized, making it difficult to conclude a causal link between parental incarceration and children’s involvement in the criminal justice system. In the Children of Offenders study (Johnston 1992, 1993), the sample (56, 202) target-ed children of offenders who already demonstrated disciplinary problems in school or delinquent behaviors, presenting the highest likelihood of second-generation incarceration ( Johnston 1995). In the Jailed Mothers study, Johnston (1991) relied on self-reported data from the surveys of 100 jailed mothers on their children’s living arrangements, risk factors, and problem behaviors.

9 The report indicates that “generally, persons with fewer economic, tangible, social, physical and other personal resources may be more vulnerable to the threat of violence or abuse posed by an intimate partner.”

10 This figure represents both pre-prison and during-prison nonpayment. Depending on the law of the state, prisoners may continue to accrue child supports arrears while incarcerated. According to Thoennes (2003), Massachusetts prisoners accrued on average $5,000 in arrears while behind bars.

11 The study defined “family member” as “a blood or legal relative, someone with whom the prisoner has a child in common, or a significant other or guardian our respondent lived with prior to his or her incarceration or plans to live with after he or she is released from prison” (Visher et al. 2004, 31).

12 See chapter 10 of the book this selection is taken from, But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry, for a discussion of the concept of concentric circles of support.

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