Design and Violence


SCRAM Systems

Confinement through surveillance

Ankle monitors are devices used to confine an individual through monitoring their movements, and are administered by law. They are locked on to the wearer’s bodyceand relay their position to a control centre. First used on offenders in the 1980s, they have become widespread as an alternative to incarceration. Some ankle monitors include the ability to monitor the wearer’s consumption of drugs or alcohol through transdermal sensors. The ankle monitor on display here, made by SCRAM Systems, offers Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM), as well as the possibility of combining CAM and House Arrest: “at the flip of a switch … it’s 24/7 monitoring for your higher-risk/higher-need alcohol clients”. While reducing imprisonment, the technology raises some Orwellian implications around surveillance and the limits to state control of human agency and biology.

Image courtesty Jérémy-Günther-Heinz Jähnick / Bracelet électronique / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons