Previous high-profile wearers include Bernard Madoff and Martha Stewart; Dominique Strauss-Kahn would join a select disgraced band if forced to wear an electronic tag as part of a bail deal.
After his humiliating police "perp walk" in New York, the image of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) boss wearing an ankle bracelet would add another symbol of shame for the beleaguered global finance titan. The Frenchman's lawyers have pledged he would wear a tag -- which can track his location with cutting-edge Global Positioning System (GPS) technology -- as a condition for being freed from New York's notorious Rikers Island jail.
The monitoring device would be in addition to surrendering his passport, agreeing to stay in a strictly-controlled location in New York and paying a reported USD 1 million bail, according to reports. "If Strauss-Kahn were to be placed on GPS monitoring, it could be set to send signals giving his location minute by minute," Marc Renzema, professor of criminal justice at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, told AFP.
"If he were to leave the allowed area or to cut the bracelet from his ankle, a signal would immediately be sent to a monitoring centre .. If a set number of signals were missed by the monitoring centre, an alarm would also occur." Electronic tags, which these days can monitor a lot more than simply location, are used on thousands of defendants every year in the United States when house arrest is used as an alternative to formal custody.
As well as the tag itself -- typically worn over socks for a man -- the system involves installing a base station in the apartment or location where the defendant is confined, linked by phone line to a monitoring centre. The technology can also be used to monitor, for example, blood alcohol levels via sub-cutaneous sensors, or be programmed to sound an alarm if its wearer goes within a certain distance of a barred location.