Some insist that e-carceration is “a step in the right direction.” But where are we going with this? A growing number of scholars and activists predict that “e-gentrification” is where we’re headed as entire communities become trapped in digital prisons that keep them locked out of neighborhoods where jobs and opportunity can be found.
Many of the current reform efforts contain the seeds of the next generation of racial and social control, a system of “e-carceration” that may prove more dangerous and more difficult to challenge than the one we hope to leave behind.
E-Carceration is the use of technology to deprive people of their liberty. Electronic monitors combined with house arrest represent the most obvious and likely the most punitive form of E-Carceration. Typically the state, usually via the criminal legal system, enforces E-Carceration. But corporations are also getting into the act by charging fees for repressive regimes of parole and probation which often include monitors. If we don’t resist, E-Carceration may be the successor to mass incarceration as we exchange prison cells for being confined in our own homes and communities.