How Much Does an Ankle Monitor Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

An ankle monitor, known to most people as a tether, has truly revolutionized the ways of criminal justice. Over the years, the use of this device became a common sight on people who were under house arrest or on parole.

Ankle monitors work by sending a radio frequency signal that will alert the receiver regarding the location of the one wearing it.  If an offender steps outside the allowed range, he or she will be detected automatically by the device, alerting the authorities.  Ankle monitors are also tamper-resistant and have the ability to alert authorities if the wearer attempts to remove it or damage it in some way.

For law offenders who do not want to spend time in jail, they will usually shoulder the cost of the ankle monitor.  In return, the offenders receive a chance to correct themselves and continue with their daily lives rather than serve a sentence in jail.  However, only those with minor offenses qualify for the ankle monitoring program.

Monitored by popo.uw23, on Flickr
Monitored” (Public Domain) by popo.uw23

How much does an ankle monitor cost?

The cost of an ankle monitor will depend on how your state is set up.  Most of the time, your state will charge a daily usage fee, which is usually between $5 to $20 per day, plus a $100 to $200 one-time setup fee.  The monitors itself can cost the government $800 to $1,500 per device.  The costs, ultimately, will depend on where you live, what kind of device you’re wearing and if you’re either serving the sentence or you’re currently on bond.

FindLaw.com, for instance, says the cost of house arrest is $6,000 per year, which is much cheaper than the $20,000 per year average to house a prisoner.   Inside this article, they state the wearer will usually have to pay about $5 to $15 per day, but some courses may have a sliding scale based on your income, so the prices could vary depending on where you live.

This Government Technology article talked about offenders who had to wear an ankle monitor in La Crosse County, Wisconsin.  According to the local government, offenders must pay a daily monitor fee, which will vary anywhere from $7 if they are on bond or $12 if they are serving a sentence.

Another article in the Daily Kos said a man in South Carolina had to pay a $179.50 setup fee, plus a $9.25 per day fee.

The official sheriff department page of Riverside County, California, states you must pay $7 per day for a regular unit and $12 per day for a cellular unit.

NPR talked with a man who resided in Augusta, Georgia, and had found he was paying $12 a day for a bracelet with a breathalyzer strapped to it.  In addition, he also had to pay a $50 setup fee and $39 per month fee to a probation company supervising the bracelet.  All 49 states, with the exception of Hawaii, will pass the costs to those who wear one.

An ankle monitor used for personal use can cost anywhere from $150 to $250, depending on the brand and where you purchase it from.

Ankle monitor overview

In general, an ankle monitor will be used for house arrest, to monitor your alcohol levels or if you were on bail pending a trial.  Essentially, all ankle monitors will be used the same way:  They will be tampered proof and will use some sort of radio frequency to track your location at all times.  Most of these monitors will be about the size of a smartphone, allowing satellites and cellphone towers to track an offender’s movement.

Generally, these monitors will be waterproof, and in specific cases, they may have listening functions to listen to your conversations.  All states will have its own rules or regulations, so it’s important to pay attention to these closely to avoid violating your house arrest.

Ankle monitors won’t track just your location as there are some on the market, known as a Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitors (SCRAM), which is designed to detect the level of alcohol in the body.  This monitor can test your sweat and will detect the alcohol levels.  Just like an ankle monitor, if your levels were to rise, it would alert the authorities.

What are the extra costs?

As stated above, a one-time setup fee may apply, depending on your state’s pricing.  This is often in the $100 to $200 range.

In some circumstances, some states may charge a monthly fee that goes to the probation company monitoring the bracelet.  This, according to our research, is in the $30 to $60 per month range.

How can I save money?

Some states may charge on a sliding income scale.  Talk with the courts to see if your state participates in a program like this.


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Average Reported Cost: $1000

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  1. Nick menzies (Taunton,  Massachusetts) paid $1000 and said:

    Was it worth it? Yes

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