Greg Beato on Positive Electronic Monitoring


How did two students of Timothy Leary and B.F. Skinner almost turn the electronic incarceration model on its head? Greg Beato tells the story of Robert and Ralph Kirkland Gable, who demonstrated electronic monitoring could be a tool in the process of positive reinforcement rather than a means of deterrence, a way for individuals to document instances of good behavior. "My brother's advisor was Tim Leary – there was a lot of crazy, creative stuff going on with that," says Robert Gable. "I was a student of B.F. Skinner. He was mostly working with pigeons and was very boring as a lecturer, and I wasn't interested in doing anything in the lab. But my brother came up with this idea—why don't we try the stuff that Skinner's doing with pigeons on juvenile delinquents?"