Home Confinement May Offer an Alternative to Prison

Law Firm Newswire



Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 17, 2014 – Home confinement, often referred to as house arrest, became a fixture in the justice system in 1983 with the advent of the electronic monitoring bracelet.

“Most prisons today are crowded to overflowing. More and more courts are offering home confinement to keep the prison available to hold the more serious offenders,” said Thomas C. Grajek, a Lakeland County criminal defense attorney. House arrest is more palatable for many and permits offenders to go to designated rehabilitation programs, remain in the family unit, keep working or seek work.

There are a number of ankle monitors or bracelets used in the justice system, and all of them send electronic signals at timed intervals to a receiver in the offender’s home. The receiver uses a cellular network or landline to transmit information to a service center computer. If the signal stops transmitting, it sends an alert. The bracelets are worn next to the skin on the ankle and fit under clothing.

Most of them are tamper-proof, and they send an alert if the wearer attempts to damage or remove the bracelet.

The criminal ankle bracelets, also called tether systems, are also available as alcohol ankle bracelets, Alzheimer and dementia bracelets, witness and victim tracking ankle bracelets, jail ankle bracelets and police and criminal ankle bracelets. Bracelets used for home monitoring may be operated by radio-frequency technology or GPS technology. Some even have the ability to detect if the offender is violating terms of probation or parole by drinking.

Juveniles and offenders convicted of non-violent misdemeanors are most frequently granted the house arrest option. More serious offenders are still sent to prison on conviction. U.S. courts can also impose home confinement as a bail condition or as a sentence. An experienced criminal defense attorney, working on behalf of a client with a clear record, a verifiable and steady work history and no gang affiliations, can actively seek this option from courts.

Some groups of imprisoned offenders, including sexual and violent offenders, may be eligible for closely supervised house arrest for a limited time, usually as a condition of release.

Home confinement is not free of charge. Offenders must pay a fee, usually a percentage of their income, for the option to wear a monitoring bracelet. “There are other costs involved as well,” Grajek indicated, “such as any ordered restitution, probation fees, court costs and any fines.”

Home confinement rules are much the same in every state, with a few minor variations. Some offenders must remain in the home 24 hours a day. However, most are allowed to leave the house and go to school, the doctor, to work or to parole or court appointments. Some offenders have a nighttime curfew.

Tampering with the device or removing it is a breach of parole or probation terms. Such action may result in an arrest warrant being issued, penalties being imposed or the offender being returned to prison.