Liberal roots of electronic tagging revealed

The tagging and electronic monitoring of offenders is a staple of modern law enforcement, but the technology has its roots in the counter culture an earlier decade. Professor Robert S. Gable recalls his ‘Streetcorner Project’ in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the early 1960s.

Based on positive reinforcement and electronic monitoring, the emphasis was on reward for good behaviour – bonuses such as cash, food or sports tickets were given to participants for attending classes, going to work, being sober etc.

Professor Gable, now Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Claremont Graduate University, California, concludes:

“I do not regret the naive enthusiasm of our early experiments. I do regret that so much of contemporary tagging has turned homes into prisons instead of making public spaces into areas of positive excitement.”

Other articles in the November issue of The Psychologist, the Society's monthly magazine, look at the lure of horror as Halloween approaches, the prevention of intimate partner homicide and ways of conducting psychological research for free in these straitened times.