Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Richard Worch


The use of electronic monitoring (EM) as a tool to supervise high-risk offenders has increased in the field of criminal justice in the state of Texas. Although EM is now widely used to supervise high-risk offenders to prevent them from committing further crimes, it is unclear whether EM has achieved the purpose of reducing reoffenses during parole supervision. Hirschi's social bond theory, which was later developed into social control theory, was used as the framework for this general qualitative study to explore retired parole officers' perceptions concerning whether EM is successful in preventing high-risk offenders from committing additional crimes. Interview data were collected from 10 retired parole officers who supervised high-risk offenders on EM in Harris County, Texas. The findings revealed that the 10 officers perceived EM to be an effective tool, but they perceived the role of capitalizing on positive social bonds was equally important in controlling criminal behavior. Specifically, the officers perceived that their bond with the high-risk offenders on EM could diminish offenders' propensity to commit new crimes. Opportunities for positive social change stemming from this study include recommendations to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to develop policies and training that is consistent with social bond theory, and retrain parole officers to emphasize to offenders positive contacts and relationship with family and continuing employment during the term of parole release in order to reduct opportunities for reoffense and futher victimization to the community.