Guide House Arrest

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House arrest is an alternative to being in a prison while awaiting trial or after sentencing. While house arrest can be applied to criminal cases when prison does not seem an appropriate measure, the term is often applied to the use of house confinement as a measure of repression by authoritarian governments against political dissidents. In these cases, the person under house arrest often does not have access to any means of communication with people outside of the home; if electronic communication is allowed, conversations may be monitored.

Judges have imposed sentences of home confinement, as an alternative to prison, as far back as the 17th century.


Galileo was confined to his home following his infamous trial in This method did not become a widespread alternative to imprisonment in the United States and other western countries until the late 20th century, when newly designed electronic monitoring devices made it inexpensive and easy to manage by corrections authorities. Although Boston was using house arrest for a variety of arrangements, the first-ever court sentence of house arrest with an electronic bracelet was in Home detention is an alternative to imprisonment ; its goals are both to reduce recidivism and to decrease the number of prisoners, thereby saving money for states and other jurisdictions.

It is a corrective to mandatory sentencing laws that greatly increased the incarceration rates in the United States. The terms of house arrest can differ, but most programs allow employed offenders to continue to work, and confine them to their residence only during non-working hours. Offenders are commonly allowed to leave their home for specific purposes; examples can include visits to the probation officer or police station, religious services, education, attorney visits, court appearances, and medical appointments.

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Offenders may have to respond to communications from a higher authority to verify that they are at home when required to be. Exceptions are often made to allow visitors to visit the offender.

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The types of house arrest vary in severity according to the requirements of the court order. A curfew may restrict an offender to their house at certain times, usually during hours of darkness. In some exceptional cases, it is possible for a person to be placed under house arrest without trial or legal representation , and subject to restrictions on their associates. In some countries, house arrest is enforced through the use of technology products or services. One method is an electronic sensor locked around the offender's ankle technically called an ankle monitor , also referred to as a tether.

The electronic sensor transmits an RF signal to a base handset. The base handset is connected to a police station or for-profit monitoring service. If the offender goes too far from their home, the violation is recorded, and the police will be notified. To discourage tampering, many ankle monitors detect attempted removal.

The monitoring service is often contracted out to private companies, which assign employees to electronically monitor many convicts simultaneously. If a violation occurs the unit signals the office or officer in charge immediately, depending on the severity of the violation.

The officer will either call or verify the participant's whereabouts. The electronic surveillance together with frequent contact with their probation officer and checks by the security guards provides for a secure environment. Another method of ensuring house arrest compliance is achieved through the use of automated calling services that require no human contact to check on the offender. Random calls are made to the residence. The respondent's answer is recorded and compared automatically to the offender's voice pattern.

Authorities are notified only if the call is not answered or if the recorded answer does not match the offender's voice pattern. Electronic monitoring is considered a highly economical alternative to the cost of imprisoning offenders. In many states or jurisdictions, the convict is often required to pay for the monitoring as part of his or her sentence.

House Arrest and Home Confinement as Jail Alternatives in California

The People's Republic of China continues to use soft detention , a traditional form of house arrest used by the Chinese Empire. In Italy, house arrest in Italian arresti domiciliari is a common practice of detaining suspects , as an alternative to detention in a correctional facility, and is also commonly practiced on those felons who are close to the end of their prison terms, or for those whose health condition does not allow residence in a correctional facility, except some particular cases of extremely dangerous persons.

The prosecuting authorities and law enforcement can check at any moment whether the subject, who is de facto considered in state of detention, is complying with the order; violation of house arrest terms is immediately followed by transfer to a correctional facility. House arrests cannot be applied to a subject that has been found guilty of escape within the previous five years. At sentencing, the judge may sentence an offender to home detention where they would otherwise receive a short-term prison sentence i. Home detention sentences range from 14 days and 12 months; offenders are confined to their approved residence 24 hours a day and may only leave with the permission of their probation officer.

Electronic monitoring equipment is extensively used by the New Zealand Department of Corrections to ensure that convicted offenders subject to home detention remain within approved areas. This takes the form of a Global Positioning System tracker fitted to the offender's ankle and monitoring units located at their residence and place of employment. Municipal courts are completely separate from the District Court. They handle violations of city ordinances. Search form.

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"House Arrest" & "Home Confinement" as a Jail Alternatives in California

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