Just Curious - Maybe Someone Here Knows the Answer

Updated on July 30, 2019
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
10 answers

I went to get my nails done last night and while there, a younger gal comes in wearing a ankle monitoring bracelet. She wasn't shy about it - wearing short, shorts and flip flops, it was in plain view. Additionally, she was making jokes during her pedicure to the salon technician about having him cut it off of her with one of the nail clippers, so for sure that's exactly what it was.

I guess I thought that having an ankle monitor basically tied you to your home, with maybe short, scheduled reprieves to go to church, get groceries, go to a doctor appointment, etc. I didn't realize it also meant spend 3 hrs at the nail salon getting mani/pedis. Clearly she is a regular there because they knew her color number when she walked in (although I suppose she could have called in advance and requested it to make sure they carried it).

So, I'm just curious - how do ankle monitors work exactly? Does anyone know? I'm not planning on tattling on this gal if she is supposed to be getting groceries instead of nails appts, I'm honestly just curious. I work in the legal field, but we don't do any criminal related representation and if I happen to have a client with an ankle bracelet, they have to get permission to come and see us for a scheduled appointment and that is all I really know about it.


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So What Happened?

Some of you have provided some great and thoughtful insight! Thanks! I guess I always think of the movies where they are trapped by some imaginary line around their house and as soon as they step outside of the boundaries, the authorities are immediately racing to the house to stop them. Clearly very Hollywood :)

As an aside, having cancer doesn't stop me from noticing the world around me, nor does it stop me from asking questions that I don't have the answer to myself. It's human nature to judge folks to some degree - that what keeps us safe, the ability to judge the world around us and make decisions based on what we see and hear. Is her ankle monitor my business? Sure, to some small degree - I live and pay taxes in this town, I'd like to know that they aren't just letting random criminals out loose with nothing more than a tracking device that may or may not work. Is it enough of my business to ask her about it? Nah, unless she was sitting right next to me and brought it up, I have enough manners to mind my own beeswax.

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answers from Boston on

Just a thought on the joking - it doesn't mean she doesn't take it seriously. Sometimes people joke about what they're nervous or embarrassed about, and sometimes they do it to keep the other person (e.g. the nail technician) from feeling too awkward. It's there, it can't be ignored, so she might as well joke about it. Maybe she isn't taking this seriously, but maybe she is and it's a coping method.

I guess my worry would be that it would go into the water!!

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm glad you got such thoughtful and educational answers. With everything you're going through I cannot imagine having this level of interest in other people's personal business.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It is likely to just be monitoring her general geographic area.

The US criminal justice system is frequently less restrictive than, say, a Mamapedia mom whose teen daughter snuck out of the house in the middle of the night. *That* young lady would probably not be giggling over a pedicure the next day. But a regular offender, sure - I hope she found a cute color!

(And as for the woman’s jokes about cutting it off - there are people who give judges the middle finger too...maybe some attitudes relate to the roots of their problems!)

ETA: I agree with Diane B above re: joking to break the ice too, of course.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Sometimes the conditions aren't house arrest per se, but just location tracking within an area. For example, ICE is currently using ankle monitors, sometimes indefinitely, for undocumented immigrants who are awaiting immigration proceedings. Doesn't mean that they can't go about living their lives, but it would alert authorities if they left a certain area such as the county or state, or wherever their movement is restricted to. They can also be used to monitor alcohol level for DUI offenders.

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answers from Miami on

Incidentally, we had someone with an ankle monitoring bracelet here today at the office, first time we ever encounter that. Apparently, the wearer is supposed to request special permission to leave the assigned areas, like coming to our office, way in advance (he lives about 30 miles away from his home). Perhaps her grocery store is in the vicinity (same shopping mall) as the nail place? From what I have read, the justice system is overwhelmed as it is and unless there's a red flag of someone leaving their community, they won't make an issue out of someone hanging out in their area for a little longer than the allotted time.

There is also another type of monitor (SCRAM bracelet) that only checks for drug and alcohol consumption, so it is possible that she had that type, versus the kind that checks for your location. By the way, parents can now purchase these ankle monitors to monitor their teens' whereabouts, so maybe it wasn't even a court-mandated ankle monitor, but one that a parent bought to keep control over their unruly teen, and they don't mind the nail salon, as long as she's not at the underage bar getting drunk or going to her boyfriend Mikey's home: https://reason.com/2018/12/11/teen-ankle-monitor-florida-...

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answers from Atlanta on

Ankle monitors are for various reasons. Since shew as joking about it, why not ask her? She seemed to want to talk about it.

Really though, what business is it of yours? I've seen plenty of people here in GA with ankle monitors. I don't stop to ask them what they did. I figured it was their business not mine.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I worked with a woman that had one because she wasn’t being compliant with her alcohol courses. It wasn’t house arrest but in a time restriction. One time she was late leaving work and they were calling immediately. The batteries also have to be charged on this (without extension cords) so she was pretty tethered to the wall. When it was time to remove it, the courts just cut it off.

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answers from New York on

My uncle's sister had one that monitored her drug and alcohol use. She was not restricted to locations like staying home didn't have to ask permission to go places. But if her alcohol levels were above a certain level then they tracked her and brought her to a holding cell to sober up.. Infinite accuracy of this info, it's all he said she said stuff though

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answers from Washington DC on

no clue, but i'm guessing they can adjust the monitors so they can be less or more restrictive. more for house arrest, less for 'stay within the jurisidiction.'

and if the latter, then groceries or nail appointments, whatever.

i just can't imagine the cost if the court systems actually had people checking to see if people with ankle monitors were grocery shopping or <gasp> getting a pedi.


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answers from Sacramento on

Why not just mind your own business, you don’t even know this “gal”. I’ve recently noticed how hard it is for people to just mind their own business these days.

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