The contractors who provide position-monitoring services to probation and parole departments, primarily to track the whereabouts of sex offenders, charge about $10 per day. For $100 plus $15 a month, the Zoombak provides roughly the same functionality, using GPS for position monitoring and cell-phone technology to report the position back to the monitoring unit. The Zoombak lacks some things that would be needed for offender monitoring: a tamper-evident way of preventing the offender from leaving the device behind and real-time reporting. But it’s most of the way to what is needed .
Combine cheap position monitoring with effective enforcement of probation rules as demonstrated by Judge Alm in Honolulu, and suddenly probation and parole become close substitutes for incarceration in terms of preventing new crimes. I’m convinced that we could have half as many people in prison ten years from now as we do today, while also having half as much crime.