8 Just. Q. 399 (1991)
Critique: No Soul in the New Machine: Technofallacies in the Electronic Monitoring Movement

handle is hein.journals/jquart8 and id is 409 raw text is: C [ QUE: NO SOUL IN THE NEW
MACHHNE: TECHNOFALLACIES IN THE
ELEVTRONIC MONITORING
MOVEMENT*
RONALD CORBETr
Massachusetts Department of Probation
GARY T. MARX
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
'it's a remarkable piece of apparatus.
Opening line, The Penal Colony, by Franz Kafka
Since its legendary inception in the mind of a New Mexico
judge inspired by Spiderman comics, the use of electronic monitor-
ing as a correctional tool has grown in a manner most often de-
scribed as explosive (U.S. Dept. of Justice 1990). From very
isolated use in 1984, the use of electronic monitoring (hereafter
EM) has expanded to at least 33 states (ACA 1989), with a three-
fold increase during 1988 alone (Schmidt 1989).
Although hardly a mature industry, EM has attracted a grow-
ing number of manufacturers now totaling at least 14 (Tonry and
Will 1989). For the last several years, exhibition areas at the an-
nual conference of the American Probation and Parole Association
have been occupied almost entirely by vendors of new technology,
most of it EM equipment.
Clearly, EM has arrived on the correctional scene and has
drawn much attention. Significant research findings regarding its
impact recently have begun to come in. These studies have inten-
sified the debate about the proper place of EM in criminal justice.
In this paper we locate EM in the context of broader societal de-
velopments regarding surveillance, and we argue that unfortu-
nately it has fallen prey to a series of technofallacies which
undermine practice. Viewing the current electronic monitoring
frenzy from the perspective of several decades of observing and
participating in the correctional process, we have Yogi Berra's
sense that it's deja vu all over again, as yet another panacea is
* An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of
the American Society of Criminology, Baltimore, 1990.

JUSTICE QUARTERLY, Vol. 8 No. 3, September 1991
 1991 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

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