The costs of ankle bracelet monitoring companies can vary widely. While some states cover the cost, others charge defendants as much as $5 per day. The cost of monitoring can add up, so it’s important to understand the cost and the policy of any monitoring company. While some states are obligated by law to cover these costs, others do not. Increasing numbers of people are left to cover the full cost of electronic monitoring. Moreover, many companies do not have contracts with law enforcement agencies; they contract directly with the person under supervision. As a result, their costs are not subject to any oversight by the courts.

In California, for example, the cost of an ankle bracelet monitoring device varies significantly. The costs of a regular ankle monitor can be as low as $7 for a regular unit and as high as $12 for a cellular unit. Other states charge $5-$15 per day, and some charge as much as $200 for the initial installation. In addition, the costs for the monitoring device can range from $150 to $250, depending on the brand.


The Employee Polygraph Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1988, protects employees from workplace lie detector tests. But that law does not prevent employers from using electronic monitoring, and the Privacy for Consumers and Workers Act, which passed in 1994, failed to prevent abuses of electronic monitoring. Consequently, the ACLU has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of electronic monitoring in the workplace. Its “Through the Keyhole” program has been featured on national television, and has been played at union meetings across the country.


In the federal criminal justice system, ankle bracelet monitoring companies are often paid for by the United States government. Cities, however, increasingly shift the financial burden onto the inmates. For instance, in St. Louis, it costs about $90 per day to keep a person detained pending trial. In 2017, the average length of stay was 291 days. This makes it difficult for people like Daehaun White to afford his own freedom.

Ankle bracelet monitoring is expensive and requires weekly check-ins with a monitoring company. According to a study by the National Institute of Justice, 22 percent of those on electronic monitors reported getting burned by their employers. Though there are no national statistics on the number of people wearing ankle bracelets, the research shows that mass supervision disproportionately affects Black people. The population of Cook County, Illinois, is 24 percent Black, but 67 percent of its inmates are wearing ankle bracelets.


In 2013, the Center for GPS Monitoring released a report stating that the reliability of ankle bracelet monitoring systems was questionable. The report cited numerous complaints that the devices were inaccurate, putting the public at risk. After the report was released, lawmakers did not look into the system, and state officials never examined its reliability. In addition, the report noted that one out of every four bracelets contained defective batteries. Additionally, a study by Northeastern University journalism students found that the bracelets were inaccurate, causing many wrongful arrests. However, despite the criticisms, the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC) officials said that the benefits of the program far outweighed any potential technical difficulties.


Ankle bracelet monitoring companies offer an alternative to traditional police monitoring methods. They can be managed via a computer screen and are often used by Criminal Court judges. However, there are certain concerns about the potential invasion of privacy. Before you make a decision about wearing an ankle bracelet, it is important to understand how it works and whether it is right for you.