His "Digital Prison" Caught On Fire, And He's Not The Only One

A person wearing an ankle monitor
Zain Murdock
August 17, 2021

“We’re home now!” exclaimed Winston. His family immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in 2015. It took years for him and his sister, Natasha, to be released by ICE – but their struggle wasn’t over. 

“I feel like I’ve worn more chains than a slave,” Natasha complained. Why would she say that?

Winston and Natasha are two of the thousands of immigrants wearing electronic ankle shackles. They’re bulky, uncomfortable, require frequent charging, and beep constantly – and also deliver excruciating electric shocks. And one day, Winston’s burst into flame, scarring him for life!

But that’s not all.

90% of those shackled experienced physical symptoms, like bleeding or even diabetes. 12% reported feeling suicidal. And, Black immigrants like Winston were also only 15% of the population, but 31% of the immigrants shackled!

What is the shackle’s purpose though?

The ankle monitors track immigrants’ locations, to make sure they show up to court. But research shows that people are more likely to show up if they're given resources like legal representation and childcare – the shackles DON’T make them appear any more regularly.

White supremacy shackled Black people to force us here, and is now shackling Black people to make us want to leave. We know the specifics of how it's affecting people's health and well-being. The real impact of the shackle, and this system, is torture!

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