Electronic Monitoring: The Meaning Behind The Box - The Bail Project Skip to main content

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Video Transcript

Well, first I’m gonna say my name is Ariana and I’m 22 years old and I can be really really shy sometimes but I am like a big ball of energy. Like I’m always somewhere hoppin’ and boppin’. I live with my mom and my brother and that is my solid foundation. Like that’s all I need. I was an outside person I was always on the go, but now? Uh-uh.

On the day that Amber came to the jail that I was at, when they dropped my bond and I talked to my lawyer and he was like well they dropped it down all the way down to $1,000. I nearly almost fainted. Ariana she was in jail for a little under a month, and with her situation, so I spoke with her family member who I at the bonding window texted and said, hey I posted the bond now you can go.

That’s another thing I have to post the bond before they can go pay for the EMASS. EMASS stands for Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services. This is actually a private office. From where we are currently it’s about a 35-minute drive, so someone will have to go to that office to get an ankle monitoring and some people don’t have the three hundred dollars a month that it costs to afford to pay for it so they do sit in jail unfortunately until their trial is completed. I’ll take anything over jail.

So I’m like yeah, I’ll put the ankle monitor on. You need me you can track me wherever I’m gonna go. You’re mainly gonna see me at a bunch of food places. When I first got out I did not go right away to get the ankle monitor because I didn’t have the money. So when I called the lady she was like well you know did you know you have to be hooked up by today? And I said no I did not but if I didn’t what would happen? What they would do is they will send a letter to the judge and I think they said they will revoke my bond. And basically what that would mean is I would have to turn myself back in until I came up with the money to get the ankle monitor. That is what I would have to do and then I’ll have to basically re-bond back out.

When I came up with the money I was like whoo, I could breathe! I was able to breathe. I took it to him and I was like here you go, hook me up, here is the installation fee. You all get to see my little name right here. When I met the guy that gave me my ankle monitor he explained to me if anything comes of concern that pops up when they do review my stuff he’ll give me a call and ask me, well hey why were you here? Why were you there? He was explaining to me like, don’t let this thing die. Because if you let it die then we’ll send a letter, we’ll write you up, we send a letter to your judge and they let you know what to do from there. Because that’s in violation. And they was like whenever I do need to leave or anything like that I have to call them and just check in to make sure like okay I’m getting ready to go here can you tell me my per battery percentage on my ankle monitor that way I’ll be able to measure the time I have before this thing goes dead. You can have it on the charger for 30 minutes to an hour and then like you go out and you’ll be out for about 15 minutes and then it starts zzz zzz. Once I hear it vibrating it’s time to go! Whatever you’re doing, oh you got to go. It’s no, nothing more nothing less. You have to go. Period.

He was telling me like not all the time when it vibrates it means that it’s dying. Because if I look down and it’s, like right now as I’m talking to you it can be vibrating. And it’ll vibrate but I’ll be like okay it’s not dying or anything like that, so why is it vibrating? And they’ll say it’ll be because we can’t get in contact with you so that’s our way of saying you need to call us because we have a question or something like that. And like when he did it it’s like an alarm going off. Like you know like on a car. It’s like a loud beep. And it’ll beep. It’ll beep! It’ll beep until basically I get on the phone and contact them. So I was like ok well I’m glad you told me that because I don’t want to be in a store and that thing go off like that cause I’m gonna be like drop everything and run basically because I’m trying to get up out of here I don’t want to draw attention to myself with this. And not only that, what’s going on?

Like somebody tell me something. I have to go check in with them every week. It’s about 30 minutes from here. And that drive when it’s traffic? Ugh. I just wish I can just call them or like can I FaceTime y’all and y’all look at it? Like cause first of all, gas is not cheap! The first Monday I went to go interact with him I was like dang I’m only gonna be in here for five minutes five to 10 minutes. Like I drove 30 minutes to sit for five. Like this that’s wasting my time! I feel like it’s a waste of my time. Even being in jail it just it’s everything was a big setback. It put me behind. And it’s like now I got to play catch-up. Being on an ankle monitor it hinders that. It hinders you from playing catch-up, because first of all you only have a certain amount of time of daylight to do it. I feel like if you all want me on this thing, why are you making me pay for it? $300 a month. No matter how you put it. They have us where you can it’s options. I could pay bi-weekly, I can pay weekly, I could pay daily, or monthly. people make it seem like $300 is not a lot of money but when you don’t have no money you have to come up with $300 it’s hard. Especially when you’re not working and you know when you start working you still have to get a paycheck.

And like as far as like me bathing and stuff goes like it’s water-resistant but it’s not waterproof. So like I can’t go and like jump into a pool with it on cause then it’ll mess up. And that’s I have to pay a fee. That’s basically $35 that I don’t even want to, I don’t want to pay that to you all. So yes I’m not, like one time I did take a bath. and like I was sitting with my foot outside the tub like this. Like I’ll try to make fun of it. Like I’ll try to not, I try to make fun out of everything even if it is something that’s negative I still try to find some type of positive.

I’ll get into a mood where I just I’ll just be like I’m sick of this thing. This thing gets on my nerves. It itches sometimes and it just be like I trip and fall over it because, like when I’m out in public sometimes like at first like maybe like the first two days of me being on it I was like really I didn’t want to go nowhere. I didn’t I didn’t want to even step outside. I didn’t want to go anywhere. But I had to get out of that. I hate the fact that I have to I have to embrace such a negative thing. And I just don’t like, I don’t like it. I don’t like that I’m on it. I don’t like the fact that even having to look down at it. It’s annoying. You have a box on you. And not only that, it’s a meaning behind the box that you have to walk around and portray yourself as.

It’s like you’re free but you’re not free. Like I’m free because I’m not behind a glass door and I’m not being told what to do but also I’m not free because my freedom is being controlled and it’s being watched. If I bonded myself out I did my part. I’m just waiting. It should be I’m free and that’s it. I’m free until this time comes and if I gotta sit down, I gotta sit down. But let me get to that point. Don’t sit me down before it’s time for me to sit down. Like don’t give me a consequence on top of a consequence that I’m already waiting on. What’s best for me is being able to be completely free. 

Electronic monitoring is viewed by many as another form of pretrial incarceration. Those subjected to electronic monitoring often experience negative stigma when people are observed wearing it. It is also a significant factor in re-incarceration. One minor mistake, such as forgetting to charge the device, can lead to a technical violation that lands a person back in jail. In addition to hindering a person’s ability to move freely, these devices also capture, analyze and store months of information, raising privacy concerns. In the video above, Ariana shares firsthand what it’s like to be subjected to electronic monitoring in St. Louis County.

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Director of Creative and Marketing

Shannon Soper

As the Director of Creative and Marketing, Soper oversees all aspects of The Bail Project’s marketing strategy and content development and is responsible for accelerating systems change through brand recognition and public education nationwide. Since joining the organization in 2018, she has driven web, video, and social media innovation, cultivating an in-house creative team and establishing the Creative and Marketing Department. Soper has over a decade of leadership in nonprofit strategic communications, having served as Communications Director at Dignity and Power Now and as College Campaigns Strategist for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A champion for expanding access to digital assets for activists and movements, Soper founded her own company in 2016 to provide subsidized web development and creative multimedia to disadvantaged organizations. She began her advocacy career leading teams on the ground, furthering public awareness on large scale concert tours and creating institutional change at over 100 colleges and universities nationwide. Her public speaking, writing, photography, video, and web features have been featured by a wide range of outlets, including USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR.