Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
House arrest is a form of punishment whereby a person is confined to their home or place of residence. While in this state, the person will have limited abilities to travel. This will mean that they have to remain within their house for the majority of the time.
Criminal justice systems use this form of arrest instead of waiting for a trial in prison or as a sentence. The details of this sentence will differ between places.
What Is The Purpose Of House Arrest?
House arrest is used to punish offenders for a number of reasons Among these reasons are:
- It is a fair punishment – for less serious crimes, house arrest is a punishment that more accurately befits the crime.
- It will not take up a jail room – in a lot of countries, prisons and jails are overcrowded. As a result, less dangerous criminals can instead be incarcerated via house arrest.
- It keeps the public safe – by keeping offenders off the street, house arrest can be considered a way of keeping members of the public from harm.
- It is easy to enforce – it does not cost a lot of money and effort to enforce house arrest. For more information on how house arrest is carried out, continue reading.
What Is The History Of House Arrest?
House arrest was first used as a form of punishment in the 17th century. A famous example of house arrest being used is in the case of Galileo.
After being prosecuted for heresy, due to his support of the heliocentric model, Galileo was forced to remain under house arrest in 1633. He remained under house arrest for the rest of his life. He did not die until 1642.
Despite this, house arrest did not become popular until the 20th century. In fact, the first case of using an ankle monitor to enforce house arrest did not occur until 1983.
Several famous celebrities have been confined to house arrest. This list includes Lindsay Lohan, Martha Stewart, Paris Hilton, and Roman Polanski.
How Is House Arrest Enforced?
In many countries, house arrest is primarily enforced through technological means. In most cases, offenders will have to wear an ankle monitor.
This ankle monitor is a form of surveillance that allows law enforcement or correctional departments to monitor the offender’s movements. As a result, they can tell whether house arrest has been breached.
For example, if a person leaves their place of residence while under house arrest, it will be monitored. The police will then be notified of the breach. For breaking their house arrest, the offender will likely be punished.
Evidence has found that offenders who wear ankle monitors are much less likely to commit another crime. Ankle monitors are also quite a cheap method of enforcing house arrest. However, some people have been critical of ankle monitors. Many see it as a soft form of punishment that will not actually stop reoffending.
Another way that house arrest can be monitored and enforced is via an automatic phone calling system. This system works by randomly calling the offender’s home phone number.
The offender’s response will be recorded, allowing it to be compared to a previously recorded sample of their voice. If the two voices match, then all will be considered okay. However, if the phone is not answered or the voice is considered different, the authorities will be informed.
What Can You Do Under House Arrest?
Though travel is greatly restricted, you will still be allowed to go to certain places under strict conditions. For example, you can travel to your job while under house arrest. You may also be authorized to attend a job interview.
Additionally, if you are studying, you can commute to your place of education. This may be a college or university.
Moreover, you can go to a doctor or hospital appointment while under this confinement. Otherwise, you could develop serious health problems.
You can also have the ability to travel in order to meet a probation officer. A probation officer has the important job of keeping an eye on the person being incarcerated. They work with and assess offenders.
In some places, you may also be allowed to leave house arrest to attend a wedding or funeral. In many cases, the wedding or the funeral must be held for someone you are/were close to, such as a relative.
If there is an emergency, such as a medical emergency, you should be allowed to leave house arrest. If the offender is a theist, they could be permitted to visit their place of worship, such as a church.
Though this may give the impression that you can do a lot under house arrest, it is actually a very limiting experience. Of course, the extent of these freedoms will differ from place to place. While some countries are more lenient, others are much harsher.
Can You Have Visitors on House Arrest?
The number of visitors you can have over and people you can communicate with will highly depend on the situation. Not only will laws vary between countries and states, but they will depend on the offender’s situation. For example, their crime could impact this.
Typically, offenders under house arrest will be permitted visits from family members. This may include parents, siblings, or children. Offenders may also be allowed to have close friends over, though this can vary.
The number of visitors you are allowed will be decided by the court in most states. These courts may also limit who you are allowed to have over.
Who Is Eligible For House Arrest?
In order to be granted house arrest, an application must be made to a court. A court will then decide whether an offender is deemed worthy of house arrest.
The crime that a person has committed will be one of the main deciding factors. If a violent crime has been carried out, such as murder, rape, or assault, a person is very unlikely to be allowed to serve their confinement under house arrest. If you have committed other crimes prior to this sentence, you may also be refused house arrest.
Additionally, the risk that an offender poses to the community will be contemplated. Though house arrest will limit the number of interactions an offender can have with the public, they will nonetheless have more access to the public. This will in part be calculated by the crime they have committed.
Another factor that may be considered is the health of the offender. If the person has certain needs in regards to their health, such as taking frequent medication, house arrest may be considered. This is because it will be easier for them to take the medication.
Moreover, if they are suffering from a terminal illness, the offender may be granted house arrest. This will enable them to die in a comfortable and peaceful environment, as opposed to a prison.
Moreover, the proximity of the offender’s house to that of the victim will also need to be examined. If an offender resides close to their victim, they will probably not be allowed to live under house arrest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you drink alcohol while under house arrest?
No, in most situations drugs and alcohol are not allowed to be consumed while you are obeying house arrest. You should, therefore, avoid these items unless told otherwise by a probation officer.
Is house arrest better than jail?
Yes, in many ways house arrest is superior to jail. You get more freedom and can live in the comfort of your own home while under house arrest.
Ultimately, you will be permitted a few visitors while under house arrest. The thing to remember is that house arrest is a form of punishment. If an offender could have lots of visitors in their house, the punishment would not be very effective.