It’s been said that one of the reasons people ending up breaking the rules of parole is because there are so many rules that nobody could follow them all. Among those is juggling the logistics of making it to work, keeping your residence up to date with the parole officer, and finding time to make scheduled check-ins. Now comes an app that could make it a little easier to transition from inmate to free citizen.

Prison tech company Telmate is pimping a smartphone monitoring system called the Guardian app this week at the National Sheriff’s Association Annual Conference and Expo. A press release from the company, speaking in the customary hyperbole of corporate bragging, calls the app a ‘game changer,’ but in this case they might be right. It would be a lot easier and cheaper both for corrections officers and parolees to communicate with one another, and even better for inmates on probation, pre-trial monitoring, or work release programs. A smartphone app is a hell of a lot less stigmatizing than an ankle monitor.

There’s a benefit for more than just prisoners. With overcrowded prisons looking for ways to reduce their burdens - California just announced parole for a record number of inmates serving life sentences - parole officers are already overbooked. Going mobile can be one more way to stretch those resources.

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