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The 2014 Council of Europe recommendation on electronic monitoring: an American perspective

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on


A little over a decade ago I wrote “From an American Point of View: Does Electronic Monitoring Have a Future in Europe?” for a workshop at the Max Planck Institute in Freiburg, Germany [1]. I believed EM would have a future, for better or worse, but wondered what the influences on it would be. I could see that European probation services had a strong desire to subordinate EM to their established welfare concerns, but it was still my contention that changes already seen in the US would shape European developments: a) economic insecurity (exacerbated by internal immigration) might increase punitiveness; b) concerns with cost-effectiveness might undermine support for traditional probation approaches, and c) the growth of commercial influence on criminal justice policy might strengthen the appeal of technological, surveillant solutions. Things have not been so bad as I feared, but I wasn’t entirely wrong: the fact that the Council of Europe [2] has chosen to produce an “ethical” Recommenda ...