WHEN INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY COSTS YOUR FREEDOM

The machine clinging to Malea’s ankle is rubbing her skin raw. Dark purple scars and peeling flesh are visible when she lifts her jean cuff and pulls back her sock. When we met in the lobby of the Marion County Municipal Court, she had been wearing the GPS tracker for more than three months.

“It’s very heavy,” said Malea, who chose not to disclose her real name because it could jeopardize her open case. She is 19 and works at a fast food restaurant. She twisted the black strap around her ankle to expose more bruising and scarring. “The tighter they put it, the more it’s going to hurt.”

We were sitting on a bench outside an Indianapolis courtroom in December, after a brief appearance where a judge scheduled her trial two months out. Although she hasn’t been convicted of any crime, she is being surveilled by Marion County in real time, 24 hours a day, with severe consequences if she makes a wrong move.

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