Introduction The introduction of electronic monitoring (EM) has not been equally controversial in all countries, but because it was so different in kind from pre-existing forms of community supervision, ostensibly threatening to some established probation service and penal reform interests (especially when delivered by the private sector), and easily cast as a step towards a Big Brother-style ‘surveillance society’, wariness, caution and hostility were perhaps inevitable among the more traditional penal reformers (Penal Affairs Committee 1988; Allchin 1989). EM’s initial champions, on the other hand – Tom Stacey apart (Nellis 2010a) – were often technophiles in the security and communication industries who, while not wholly unversed in the ethical implications of new technologies, knew little or nothing of what probation at its best aspired to. Initially, the core debate among politicians and criminal justice professionals was between those who saw EM simply as an unacceptably intrusive form of surveillance, strikingly at odds with the humanistic impulses of traditional probation supervision, and those who saw it as a useful, necessary and arguably cost-effective way of enhancing the credibility of community supervision. Offenders themselves have tended to appreciate it from the start (Bettsworth 1989). The more recent view, periodically articulated in the British press, that it is a rather inconsequential, easily evaded, poorly enforced form of punishment was largely unthinkable then. Norman Bishop (2003), the former English prison governor who pioneered the Swedish EM scheme, has indicated that the expert committee which drafted the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures in the early 1990s doubted the legitimacy of EM as a community sanction, and the resulting Rules questioned whether EM could be a ‘meaningful’ and constructive response to offenders (Council of Europe 1994: 56). A subsequent document on ‘improving the implementation’ of community sanctions accepted that EM was becoming widespread in Europe but, in anticipation of such obviously pernicious developments as satellite tracking (as it was then seen), argued that there was a pressing need to consider the implications of all EM ‘for practical work with offenders and possible encroachments on personal integrity and human rights’ (Council of Europe 2002: 31). Thus, very little attempt has been made to explore the ethics

of EM from within the philosophy of punishment, or in terms of the ethics of surveillance, and this chapter is by no means comprehensive; it is merely a partial sketch of the conceptual territory. It reflects the author’s Anglo-centric orientation to EM, but it will hopefully stimulate debate farther afield.