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Washington Post compares electronic monitoring with face-to-face contact

The Washington Post examines the work of Washington, D.C.’s juvenile monitors as the District’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services completes a yearlong study of the lower-cost electronic tracking devices that could replace them.

Post reporter Theresa Vargas accompanied three monitors as they visited youth at their schools and in their homes. The monitors also do such things as drive youth to group meetings and job interviews, and help them enroll in school.

Their work could be threatened by a $400,000 grant-funded study to determine the effectiveness of GPS devices. The devices cost $8 a day compared to $30 a day for human monitors and can tell, at any given moment, if youth are where they are supposed to be.

The article looks at the work performed by the monitors and asks whether the face-to-face relationships they develop with youth and families outweigh the benefits of electronic tracking.