House Arrest Essay, Research Paper
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
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.
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