GPS Ankle Monitor- Can you Shower With A GPS Ankle Monitor?

Sometimes it’s not viable to put minor offenders in our incarceration facilities due to congestion and overpopulation. The alternative punishment is placing them under house arrest, where they are under 24/7 electronic monitoring. It enables law enforcement officials to know their exact location at any given time. A GPS ankle monitor is our primary electronic monitor for this operation. Our discussion today will delve into the basics of electronic monitoring devices. We’ll also expound on the vital ankle monitor rules. 

Table of Contents

How Do GPS Ankle Monitors Function?

A GPS monitor for house arrest. 

A GPS monitor for house arrest. 

The device (Often an ankle bracelet) applies GPS and motion sensor technology to identify your exact location. It is a critical tool for probation officers who want to determine where parolees are at a particular time. The monitor will also sense when the individual takes alcohol. 

Often, the judge will issue guidance on the appropriate calibration of the tool depending on the individual’s offense. In summary, the tracking device will relay the following data to law enforcers. 

  1. It’ll signal the device’s battery status (power alerts), especially when it is low. 
  2. Also, it gives an alert of violations if the offender tries to remove the device or moves to undesignated areas. 
  3. It is sensitive to alcohol and will thus report if the offender takes alcohol (in excess). 
  4. Finally, it issues communication alerts on technical violations and malfunctions of the device.  

Types of Ankle Monitors

Ankle monitor Principle.

Ankle monitor Principle.

Law enforcers will issue three ankle bracelets depending on the offender’s crime. The three ankle shackles include the following:

A. Radio Frequency (RF)

An RF anklet bracelet is ideal for generic reporting on location violations. It will alert authorities on the general location of the offender and thus is a handful for curfew enforcement. Also,  the surveillance device detects if the individual is at a designated locale. 

B. Global Positioning System (GPS)

It is a GPS location technology that is more advanced than the RF detector. It primarily relays the actual geographical coordinates of the individual, and thus it is imperative where precise reporting is necessary. 

Moreover, it is capable of continuously transmitting real-time data. Hence, it is the ideal device for allowing offenders to attend scheduled travels out of the designated area, such as for family events. 

C. Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM)

A SCRAM Detector

A SCRAM Detector

It’s the ideal device for tracking alcohol consumption for those serving a sentence under house arrest. The tool has a mechanism for detecting alcohol content from the wearer’s sweat. Hence, the SCRAM device helps monitor the alcohol uptake by individuals in driving under the influence (DUI) cases. 

When Is It Necessary To Use a GPS Ankle Monitor?

Electronic monitoring EM tagging system.

Electronic monitoring EM tagging system.

Often, repeat offenders who have committed misdemeanors need to wear ankle monitors. You can be on parole or under house arrest and not necessarily be required by law enforcers to wear an ankle monitor. It is especially the case for first-time offenders.

Also, wearers can petition to have the court remove the ankle monitor-wearing requirement. Nonetheless, the chances of success for such a plea are low. 

How Far Can You Go With an Ankle Monitor?

Electronic Ankle Monitor transmission. 

Electronic Ankle Monitor transmission. 

It is upon the judge’s decision to decide the radii an offender with an ankle monitor can go. Here are two other determinants. 

  1. Primarily, the overarching factor in this decision is the cardinal cause of the restriction. For instance, an individual under house arrest can only cover a limited distance within the home address. Veering off this area means they have infringed the restriction rules, and the judge may withdraw the alternative to incarceration provision. 
  2. Also, the detection range of the detector (often 50 to 150 feet) is a crucial determinant of how extensively a wearer can move. Moreover, the device has to liaise with the home unit to transmit a signal to the enforcement office. So the individual must be at least within 30 feet (or lesser, depending on the device’s sensitivity) for the relay of the signal. 

GPS Ankle Monitor Key Features

A prisoner with an ankle monitor tag.

A prisoner with an ankle monitor tag.

GPS ankle monitors’ properties vary depending on their model and specific application. Nonetheless, generally, most will have the following features. 

  1. Most can store data and relay it later to make up for communication outages. 
  2. While installing the monitor, you don’t need to cut the strap. It is essential as it hinders false signals from strap tampers.
  3. Also, considerable GPS monitors employ the Advanced Forward Link Trilateration (AFLT) tech. The principle is imperative in enabling communication indoors and in areas with low GPS functionality. 
  4. Also, some have acknowledgment features that ensure it’s possible to have excellent communication between the wearer and the enforcement office. 
  5. Finally, many will issue tamper reports to the enforcement office if a wearer tries to disable the detector. 

Government Requirements While You’re on a GPS Ankle Monitor

Illustrating house arrest. 

Illustrating house arrest. 

A. Attending Work

Individuals on the GPS Ankle Monitor do not have to spend time in jail, allowing them to keep attending their place of work. But you must inform the enforcement office of where you work and when you arrive and leave. 

B. Don’t use Alcohol

The enforcement office doesn’t expect you to take alcohol or drugs while under house arrest. It is especially important if you were arrested for crimes related to drug use. 

C. Pay Court Fees

You must also pay the fees that the court requires you to so that you can remain under house arrest and enjoy its benefits. Otherwise, the court has the authority to recall you for incarceration. 

D. Attend Court Hearings

While under house arrest, you must attend court hearings and meet with the parole officers as scheduled. 

E. Being within the schedule

You must also comply with the travel schedule that the court has allowed you. Often, juvenile offenders and those with misdemeanors can attend church, health care facilities, and other important meetings. But you must always comply with the restrictions; otherwise, the court will withdraw the privileges. 

F. Don’t Tamper with the Detector

Do not try to switch off the detector or remove it, as you should always be on it. Otherwise, it will inform the authorities, and they’ll recall you to serve your sentence in prison. 

Is My GPS Ankle Monitor Listening to My Conversations?

Ankle monitor Bracelet.

Ankle monitor Bracelet.

Not all GPS Ankle monitors feature microphones, but a considerable number of those in some states like Indiana and Illinois have them. So, there’s no guarantee that your monitor doesn’t have a microphone so that it could be listening to you. 

GPS Ankle Monitors FAQs

Should I remove my GPS Ankle Monitor while Showering?

Most present-day ankle monitors are waterproof; thus, you can still wear them while showering (even with a hot shower). Nonetheless, please refrain from wearing them for a long while showering as their transmission is poor underwater. 

How long do ankle monitor batteries last?

Most quality ankle monitors (especially those by Kapa Technologies) have an extended battery life of about 55 hours. But this shouldn’t worry you as the device will give an alert when you need to charge it. 


An ankle monitor is an effective device for electronic surveillance of an offender’s whereabouts under house arrest. However, as elucidated above, they must comply with government rules while under arrest. We have covered all the insights on ankle monitors, but you can always reach out to us for more. 

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