The Pretrial Blog

  • Guest Blog: The Myth of the Electronic Monitor (12/12/2018)

    By James Kilgore, co-director of FirstFollowers Reentry Program


    The first time I saw an electronic ankle monitor was 2009. Unfortunately, it was on my own leg. After six and a half years in prison, I figured this little band of plastic wasn’t going to be much of a hindrance. Wrong.

    For my first week of “freedom,” I was only allowed out of the house Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. I didn’t feel too free. The more I kept looking at my ankle, the more questions I had. They told me the device only tracked my location, but how was I to know it wasn’t listening to my conversations? When I went to sleep at night, I kept having visions that my parole officer was lying across the foot of my bed looking up at me. I knew he wasn’t there, but the vision wouldn’t go away.

    I ended up spending a year on this device. Eventually I adjusted (sort of) but I never stopped asking questions. I had to give my parole officer a list of all my movements two weeks in advance, specifying time and place. Any deviations from the list and I could be back watching my incarcerated brothers slamming dominoes in the prison day room. No spontaneous walks around the block to get some fresh air, no midnight pizza runs. How much sense did that make? I had done my time in prison, why should I have to do more time in my living room? (more…)


08/21/2018

What we’ve been UP 2!

The University of Pretrial (UP) just turned 2! Here’s a look back at some of the milestones that our community has helped us achieve in the […]
08/08/2018

Resetting the Default: Detention Should be Hard to Get

Today, the system’s ability to invoke unnecessary pretrial detention is akin to the easy, quick – often mindless – process of ordering a pizza for delivery […]
07/24/2018

Pretrial Freedom and the Presumption of Innocence

We all have heard of the Boston Tea Party and the phrase, “No taxation without representation.”  But the the rebellion was about more than a perceived […]
07/12/2018

Voters Ready to Change the Default of Pretrial Detention

We don’t like stupid rules at PJI. That’s probably one reason why Inc. magazine recognized us as one of the Best Workplaces of 2018. So when […]
06/26/2018

Small Towns and the Sixth Amendment

Providing adequate counsel is a key challenge to addressing high rates of pretrial detention in rural areas, according to Right on Crime’s recent report, Open Roads […]
06/21/2018

Pride in Pretrial?

A major milestone in LGBTQIA1 rights, celebrated officially each June, arguably has its roots in pretrial.  In the 1960s, police harassment of LGBTQIA people was common; there […]
06/21/2018

Resisting Jails in Rural America

For too long, rural jails have been an overlooked part of American mass incarceration. Yet, rural jails have the nation’s highest pretrial incarceration rates—increasing by more […]
06/21/2018

Best Place to Work

According to Psychology Today, the average person will spend about 90,000 hours at work in their lifetimes. If we’re spending that much time at work, it […]
05/15/2018

Guest Vlog: Philadelphia Pretrial Services

Michael Bouchard, director of Philadelphia Pretrial Services, shares his organization’s efforts to reduce unnecessary pretrial detention through the Safety and Justice Challenge. Outcomes so far include […]