Magazine | May 14, 2018, Issue



The Limits of Monitoring

Barry Latzer’s article on electronic monitoring of parolees and those who are awaiting trial or on probation, “Let Them Wear Bracelets” (March 19), was very informative. Mr. Latzer is correct in pointing out that outsourcing to a private service, similar to a home-security system, will be necessary for 24/7 monitoring. Currently many communities, courts, and jurisdictions operate under a false sense of security that electronic monitoring is conducted in real time and violations are addressed by the probation or parole officer immediately. Instead, many jurisdictions, and the federal system, operate under a “key alert” system that requires the officer to clear the alert within a certain time frame, with rollover alerts issued if it is not cleared. Many times this is done simply by calling a land line to ascertain whether the offender is at home. This can take hours, if not days, especially considering probation officers’ often overwhelming caseloads. A fatal flaw in most electronic-monitoring policies is that alerts of an offender’s entering an excluded zone (a school, an area protected by a restraining order, etc.) or cutting off his bracelet are not immediately sent to the local police department — those who have the manpower and proximity to the offender — to investigate. If one’s home alarm system activates, the local police are called. With dangerous felons, we shouldn’t be relying on a probation or parole officer who may be many miles away or off duty to find out what is going on.

Philip Miller
Canton, Mich.

Congress’s Short Term Memory

In Yuval Levin and Ramesh Ponnuru’s article “A New Health-Care Debate” (April 16), one sentence regarding the 2017 Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare caught my attention. The authors write, “The chief force working against them [Republicans] was the public’s fear of sweeping change, directed from Washington, D.C., to their health arrangements.”

Do House Republicans forget what helped them regain the House in the 2010 midterm elections? Do Senate Republicans believe that, once the public’s fear of sweeping change regarding health-care came to full fruition, it was not the public’s aversion to Obamacare that gave them a majority in the 2014 elections?

While I’m not convinced there will be a blue wave in 2018, the Republicans certainly are. They should repeal Obamacare in toto, then start debate on what to replace it with — selling health insurance across state lines being the top priority. If they do get voted out of office this year, at least they will have left behind a legacy. This would force the newly elected Democrats to debate the reinstitution of Obamacare, but with the public having seen how it really worked as opposed to how it was supposed to work.

On another note, kudos to Heather Wilhelm for her beautifully crafted piece  “In Defense of Golf” (April 2). I gave up the game many years ago when I discovered the sport of fencing. After twelve years of lunges, parries, and ripostes, my knees decided they’d had enough, so I walked away. Ms. Wilhelm made me go down to our storeroom and dig out my old clubs. See you on the course, Heather.

Richard Rustad
Aiken, S.C.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Redeeming the Miracle

Yuval Levin reviews Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy, by Jonah Goldberg.




Richard Rustad responds to Yuval Levin & Ramesh Ponnuru’s article “A New Health-Care Debate.”

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