BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 415

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 415

IELTS Academic Reading Test

The Electronic Monitoring of Criminals

Electronic monitoring is used to monitor curfews and conditions of a court or prison order. It provides an alternative to incarceration and gives structure, control, and accountability to probationers who have been sentenced to house arrest by a judge. The program also provides an extra layer of supervision. Currently, there are two types of tag monitors, both usually fitted to an individual’s ankle: tags for curfew supervision using only radio frequency (RFT) transmission, and tags for monitoring location and movement, which combine RF with global positioning system (GPS) technology.

The vast majority of cases, around 12,300 to 14,000 offenders at any one time last year, are under curfew tagging orders. Curfew tags transmit information on an individual’s location only in relation to their home. The information is reviewed by staff at a monitoring centre to check that the individual is complying with their home curfew order. So far, location monitoring tags have been used on very few cases, usually fewer than 20 at any time. These allow an individual’s location and movements to be monitored wherever they go.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

There is a range of potential advantages associated with the use of electronic monitoring. One of the major advantages is the possibility of reduced prison populations. This is most likely where monitoring is used as an alternative to prison, rather than to enhance existing non-custodial orders. Major cost savings may be achieved through building fewer prisons, as well as reducing the cost of administering custodial sentences. A second advantage is that research has shown that electronic monitoring creates significant decreases in the recidivism rate for all groups of offenders, and that the decreases were similar for all age groups.

Electronic monitoring based on GPS typically has even more of an effect on reducing recidivism than RFT systems. Another advantage is the improvement of rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. Electronic monitoring allows more offenders to maintain employment and contact with their families, as they’re not in prison. It also avoids the negative psychological effects of incarceration, although of course the wearing of a device itself can impose anxiety.

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A disadvantage of electronic monitoring is the lack of incapacitation. Electronic monitoring does not physically restrain a person and dangerous offenders are still able to offend before authorities can intervene. Also, the less onerous conditions of home detention with electronic monitoring may result in victims perceiving some offenders as being dealt with too leniently. In addition, although offenders have more contact with their families with the electronic monitoring system, many probation officers and offenders believe that monitoring has a negative impact on offenders’ relationships with their spouses, children and friends.

Another important issue to take account of is that use of electronic monitoring, particularly through the use of devices fixed to their body, or even implanted beneath the skin, raises serious civil liberty and ethical concerns. As monitoring is predominantly applicable in correctional contexts, the question of punishment arises because of the power of modern monitoring technologies to facilitate restriction and surveillance.

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Although not a punishment in itself, electronic monitoring has the potential to enforce restrictions upon a person’s liberty in connection with a judicially imposed punishment, such as home detention. It is also psychologically invasive in the sense that the person’s every move can be tracked, other than when the device is programmed to be off. A view expressed by some is that home detention is simply an alternative to experiencing incarceration, albeit in a less restrictive environment.

Industry has played a pivotal role in the growth of electronic monitoring. In some jurisdictions, private sector firms operate systems and even attach the device to the offender, which raises many contentious issues surrounding the role of the private sector in prison management, including accountability, training and service quality.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Financial considerations can also arise. Especially when electronic monitoring is enforced through the private sector, some offenders involved in the programs are required to pay a fee towards the cost of the equipment and the monitoring. This is partially justified by the argument that offenders who remain in the community can continue in employment (if they are able to find suitable work). The logical extension is, however, that all offenders on communitybased programs should be required to contribute to correctional costs. This could place hardship on those with low incomes and high family maintenance costs.

Electronic monitoring also raises the important legal question of whether specific legislative provisions should be enacted to authorise such an invasive program. In other words, should the general legal power to impose conditions be interpreted as authority to order electronic monitoring? This is currently the position in some jurisdictions where electronic monitoring is used under the court’s general power to impose conditions on an individual. If that power is sufficient to require a person to wear a monitoring device, does it also authorise a court to compel an individual to submit to a surgically implanted device, something not yet currently legal?

IELTS Academic Reading Test

The use of electronic monitoring has the potential to improve the cost-effectiveness of correctional programs, provide enhanced opportunities for offender rehabilitation and extend the range of sentences available to the courts. Despite the fact that electronic monitoring has been in use for two decades, there are still many legal, ethical and practical issues to resolve. Although the latest technologies are more efficient than in the past, their surveillance potential creates concerns of overregulation and infringement of human rights.

An awareness of these developments is important, as is the creation of policies to ensure that if such technologies are adopted, they are used in the most productive and ethical ways. In particular, the necessity for ensuring informed consent of those chosen to be subject to monitoring has to be guaranteed and effective procedures established to deal with unethical or illegal practices.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Choose FOUR letters, A – H. What of the following is true about electronic monitoring? Write the correct letter, A – H, in any order in boxes 27 – 30 on your answer sheet.

A. The electronic monitoring tags used today combine different location technologies.

B. Offenders’ neighbourhoods become safer environments.

C. Electronic monitoring raises money through fines imposed on prisoners who do not follow restrictions.

D. Most electronic monitoring of offenders is for enforcing curfew restrictions.

E. Offenders breaking curfews are sent a message to warn them to return home.

F. Radio frequency tags can only measure how far offenders move away from their houses.

G. Tag monitors with GPS capability are not currently used extensively.

H. Court orders regarding electronic monitoring must in turn be monitored by the relevant judges.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.

36. The use of private companies with electronic monitoring

A. has worried people about how much public money is wasted.

B. has worried people about how offenders are treated.

C. has worried people about how good the service can be.

D. has worried people about how effectively the companies are monitored.

37. Imposing charges on offenders to cover their electronic monitoring costs

A. could lead to charges being imposed on other non-prison schemes.

B. has been attacked by some leading judges.

C. does not cause undue problems as the charges are not high.

D. was first suggested by a previous offender.

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38. Electronic devices under an offender’s skin

A. must be only be implanted by registered surgeons.

B. must be removed within one month of the monitoring period ending.

C. are significantly more expensive than ankle tags.

D. are not yet permitted by legislation.

39. Electronic monitoring as a way of accomplishing surveillance

A. is constantly being challenged in the courts.

B. has been in effect over the last 20 years.

C. has recently been adopted by some totalitarian regimes.

D. is becoming more and more expensive due to privatisation.

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40. Obtaining the permission of offenders to be monitored

A. is currently not a legal requirement.

B. should always be part of the electronic monitoring process.

C. can also be given by an offender’s spouse.

D. must be done in the presence of a lawyer.

IELTS Academic Reading Test


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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 415

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27. A*

28. D*

29. F*

30. G*






36. C

37. A

38. D

39. B

40. B

Note: * Answers for questions 27 – 30, in any order

IELTS Academic Reading Test

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