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Surveillance as casework: Supervising domestic violence defendants with GPS technology

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journal contribution
posted on 12.04.2016, 00:00 by Peter R. Ibarra, Oren M. Gur, Edna Erez
Academic discussion about surveillance tends to emphasize its proliferation, ubiquity, and impact on society, while neglecting to consider the continued relevance of traditional approaches to human supervision, an oversight insofar as surveillance is organized through practices embedded in justice system-based casework. Drawing from a multi-site study of pretrial personnel utilizing global positioning systems (GPS) technology for domestic violence cases in the U.S., a comparative analysis is offered to illustrate how the handling of a “problem population” varies across community corrections agencies as they implement surveillance regimes. In particular, the study finds that surveillance styles reflect whether an agency is directed toward crime control and risk management, providing treatment and assistance, or observing due process. These programmatic thrusts are expressed in how officers interact with offenders as cases, both directly and remotely. In contrast to the ambient monitoring of environments and populations through data-banking technologies, the interactive surveillance styles described in the present study highlight the role of casework in surveillance.


The authors benefited from the advice and assistance of the following individuals: Peggy Conway, the late editor of the Journal of Offender Monitoring, who helped us make contact with participating agencies; Dan Lawrence, Laurel Mazar, and Amanda Vasquez, who transcribed interviews; Alana Gunn, who helped code the data; the anonymous peer reviewers, who were instructive in their feedback; and the participants at the various agencies involved with the present study, who gave invaluable input, support and guidance, and without whom this article would not have been possible. This project was supported by Grant No. 2007-IJ-CX-0016 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.



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