House Arrest


House Arrest Essay, Research Paper

House Arrest

Every year, state and federal prisons are filled to capacity with nonviolent

criminals. This puts pressure on parole boards to release criminals who under

normal circumstances would not be released due to the nature of their crimes. Each

State’s Department of Corrections has to spend more of taxpayers’ money each

year for prison maintenance, correctional officers and prison healthcare. The

problem of prison over population can easily be put under control with the

implementation of the new technologies currently available for remote monitoring

and radio frequency locating systems. Electronic monitoring and house arrest has

become a viable alternative to incarceration, probation, and parole supervision.

Should a person go to jail for excessive speeding tickets, a DUI, or

possession of drugs while violent offenders, such as rapists, are being released in 7

years instead of their 20 year sentence? Non-violent crime offenders could easily

be controlled and monitored without having to be under 24 hour watch in a

correctional facility. Criminals of nonviolent crimes are more likely to be

rehabilitated with community service along with house arrest rather than

incarceration(Ramenez 47). Electronic house arrest has the capacity to reduce the

behavior of its programs participants especially the minor offenders.

When a criminal is placed under house arrest they are required under the

terms of their arrest to pay for any and all of their personal and public expenses.

The cost of keeping a non-violent offender in jail is expensive and the money

comes from state and federal taxes. The average cost for healthcare for a prison

inmate in the state of Arizona is $2319.00 a year(Arizona Department of

Corrections. “Healthcare Cost Statistics.”). Multiplied by the number of current

inmates the total is approximately $ 60,900 million a year, this is only for

healthcare this does not include any other prison expenses. The current number of

non-violent crime offenders incarcerated in the state of Arizona make up roughly

33%(Arizona Department of Corrections. “Inmate Statistics.”). If only half of

Arizona’s non-violent criminals where put under house arrest the state would save

at least 10.5 million a year in healthcare costs, this does not include the reduction in

the cost of security and the total number of prisoners behind bars.

A primary problem in Arizona and most other states is prisons

overcrowding. Overcrowding leads to a number of problems that currently many

correctional facilities are not able to control properly. In over crowded prisons

there is always the threat of a riot which could endanger the lives of prisoners as

well as the correctional officers. Though the healthcare system in today’s prisons

is acceptable they are unable to control outbreaks of socially and sexually

transmitted illnesses. Incarcerating prisoners in their own homes will decrease the

number of nonviolent criminals behind bars, secure more room for violent

criminals and can stop the transmission to social illnesses. In a report by the

Catawba County Department of Corrections, they concluded that electronic house

arrest is cheaper than intensive supervision. Refer to Table 1.1 and 1.2

Cost per Day per Probation/Parolee Status of current Convict


Regular Probation


Regular Parole


Intensive Supervision


Electronic House Arrest

Table 1.1(Catawba County North Carolina).

Cost per Day per Prison Inmate Security level of prison











Table 1.2(State of North Carolina Department of Corrections).

When a criminal is put on a house arrest program s/he is given a transmitter

that is worn on there wrist or ankle, and a receiver is placed in the offender’s home.

The transmitter then communicates with the receiver, which will have a pre-set

range in which the offender must stay, during the times they are to be at home. All

transmitters are tamper proof and water resistant. The receiver communicates via

the home telephone line, to a computer in the monitoring center; all leaves, returns,

fail to returns, tampers, and power or phone problems as they occur are

monitored(House Arrest Services, inc.). These fail-safe devices and sophisticated

security measures ensure that any attempt by the wearer to leave the current area

would only lead to the immediate notification of the authorities and then the

criminal is considered a fugitive. With these choices obviously a criminal would

rather remain under house arrest than attempt escape which would definitely lead

to that person being incarcerated in a more secure state or federal penitentiary.

Electronic monitoring and house arrest is becoming more commonplace. If

more systems were to become available in the future, we may be able to get a

control our prison overcrowding problem. Deterring nonviolent offenders from

offending again is also an important aspect of this system by not allowing them to

associate with other prisoners their rehabilitation can not be corrupted by a more

deviant criminal social grouping that can occur in prisons. With the economic and

social aspects of electronic monitoring in perspective it is clearly an alternative to

today’s high cost and prison overcrowding problem.

Works Cited

Arizona Department of Corrections. “Healthcare Cost Statistics.”

August 26, 1999

(September 24, 1999).

Arizona Department of Corrections. “Inmate Statistics.”

August 26, 1999 (September 24, 1999).

Catawba County North Carolina. “Electronic House Arrest.”

January 15, 1999

(September 9, 1999).

House Arrest Services, inc. “Remote Monitoring.”

6 June 1999 (9 September 1999).

Renzama, Marc. “Home Confinement Programs: Development, Implementation,

and Impact.” Crime and Delinquency. (1995) : 41-47.

State of North Carolina Department of Corrections. “Cost of Supervision.”

August 10, 1999

(September 9,1999).

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