From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In justice and law, house arrest
(also called home confinement, home
detention, or electronic monitoring) is a
measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to his or
her residence. Travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all.
House arrest is a lenient alternative to prison time or juvenile-detention time.
While house arrest can be applied to common 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 that
case, typically, the person under house arrest does not have access
to means of
communication. If electronic communication is allowed,
conversations will most likely be monitored. With certain units,
the conversations of criminals can be monitored directly via the
Home detention provides an alternative to imprisonment and
aims to reduce re-offending while also coping with expanding prison
numbers and rising costs. It
allows eligible offenders to retain or seek employment, maintain
family relationships and responsibilities and attend rehabilitative
programs that contribute towards addressing the causes of their
The terms of house arrest can differ, but offenders are rarely
confined to their residence 24 hours a day. Most programs allow
employed offenders to continue to work, and only confine them
during non-working hours. Offenders are also commonly allowed to
leave their homes for specific, pre-determined purposes; examples
can include visits to the probation officer or police station,
school, religious exceptions and medical appointments. Many
programs also allow the convict to leave the residence during
regular, pre-approved times in order to carry out general household
errands such as food shopping and laundry. Offenders may also 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. 
There are several types of house arrest, varying in severity as
to the requirements of the court order. A curfew may restrict an offender to their house
at certain times, usually during hours of darkness. Home
confinement or detention would require an offender to remain at
home for most hours, apart from the above mentioned exceptions. The
most serious is home incarceration which would constrain an
offender to their home constantly, aside from court-sanctioned
treatment programmes and medical appointments.
In some exceptional cases, it is possible for a person to be
placed under house arrest without trial or legal representation, with restrictions on who
they can associate with. In some
countries this has led to criticism, in which it is argued that
this type of detention breaches the offender's human rights. In
countries with authoritarian systems of government, such measures
may be politically motivated to stifle dissent.
Using technology for
In some countries, house arrest is often enforced through the
use of technology products or services. One method is an electronic
sensor locked to the offender's ankle (technically called an ankle monitor,
sometimes referred to as a tether). If the subject and the sensor venture
too far from the home, the violation is recorded and the proper
authorities are summoned. To discourage tampering, many ankle
monitors can now detect attempted removal. The monitoring service
is often contracted out to private companies, which assign
employees to electronically monitor many convicts simultaneously.
If the sensors detect a violation, the monitoring service calls the
convict's probation officer. 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 and the respondent's answer is recorded and compared to
the offenders voice pattern. Authorities are notified only if the
call is not answered or if the recorded answer does not match the
offenders voice pattern.
Electronic monitoring is considered
a highly economical alternative to the cost of imprisoning
offenders, especially considering that the convict is often
required to pay for the monitoring as part of his or her
Judges have imposed sentences of home confinement, as an
alternative to parole, as far back as the 1900s. But it did not
become a widespread alternative to imprisonment until electronic
monitoring devices made it inexpensive and easy to manage. The
first-ever court sentence of house arrest with an electronic
bracelet was in 1983.
- Aung San
Suu Kyi, Pro-democracy activist, has been under house
arrest for extended periods. She was placed under house arrest in
July 1989 and was freed in July 1995. She is presently confined to
her home in Rangoon yet again, under her 11th period of house
arrest. Each of her eleven house arrests has been declared
arbitrary by the UN's Working Group on
- Ne Win Former military
commander of Burma. He was deposed in 1988 and put under house
arrest in 2001.
- Pol Pot Former Premier
of Cambodia. He was deposed when Vietnam attacked Cambodia in 1978.
- In Italy, the house arrest
(in Italian arresti domiciliari) are a common practice of
detention of suspects,
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 do not
allow their permanence in a correctional facility, except some
particular cases of extremely dangerous persons. As for the article
n°284 of the Italian Penal Procedure Code, the house arrests are
imposed by a Judge, whom orders the suspect to stay confined in his
house, home, residence, private property, or any other place of
cure or assistance where he/she may be housed at the moment. When
necessary, the Judge may also forbid any contact between the
subject and any person other than those who cohabit with him/her or
who assist him/her. If the subject is unable to take care of
his/her life necessities or if he/she is in conditions of absolute
poverty, the Judge may authorize him/her to leave his/her home for
the strict necessary time to take care of said needs or to exercise
a job. The Prosecuting authorities and Law Enforcement can check at
any moment the factive respect of said orders by the subject, who's
considered in state of detention; violation of house arrest terms
are immediately followed by transfer in a correctional facility.
House arrests can not be applied to a subject that has been found
guilty of escape
within the previous five years.
- At sentencing the Judge can grant offenders who receive a
short-term sentence (two years or less) leave to apply for home
detention. This is called front-end home detention – i.e. it is
applied for at the beginning of a sentence. If it is deferred by
the Judge, an offender has two weeks to apply, during which time
they will be granted bail. Offenders serving long-term sentences
can apply for back-end home detention five months before their
Parole Eligibility Date, though, if granted, they won’t be released
until three months before their PED.
Galilei was put under house arrest for his belief in
Copernicus's theory of the sun in the middle of the universe and
all the planets and stars revolving around it. He stayed under
house arrest until 1642 when he died.
- Chia Thye
Poh, former leftist Member of Parliament, was arrested without
charges and held under detention without trial in 1966. 22 years
later, he was released and placed under house arrest in a
guardhouse on the resort island of Sentosa and made to pay the rent, on the
pretext that he was now a "free" man.
- Former Premier Nikita
Khrushchev was placed under house arrest for the seven years
before his death after being deposed in 1964.
Calley, U.S. Army officer responsible for the My Lai massacre, served 3½ years of house
arrest after presidential clemency instead of his original sentence
of life imprisonment.
- Riddick Bowe,
a former boxing champion, was
sentenced to be under brief house arrest after being released from
- Lionel Tate was
sentenced under one-year house arrest under the terms of the plea
bargain offered in January 2004.
Stewart was sentenced to five months of house arrest following
her release from prison on March 4, 2005.
- Debra Lafave,
a former middle-school teacher, was sentenced to house arrest on
November 22, 2005 for having sex with a 14-year-old pupil.
- Paris Hilton,
an heiress and socialite, was re-assigned to house arrest on June
7, 2007, but was ordered back to prison on June 8, 2007 to serve
the remainder of her 45-day sentence for violating probation from a
prior DUI conviction.
Dre, one of the founding fathers of gangsta rap and former member of the
influential hip-hop group NWA, was
sentenced to a house arrest after breaking the jaw of a record
producer. He told VH1's Behind the
Music, "The walls started to cave in on me."
- T.I., an American rapper and
co-CEO of Grand Hustle Records was sentenced to house arrest after
- Michael Vick,
Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, was "OK'd" for transition to
home confinement from his federal incarceration on Feb 26,
- John G.
Rowland, former governor of Connecticut spent four months under house
arrest after serving 10 months in federal prison for corruption
while in office.
Madoff after his Ponzi scheme was discovered, and $50 billion
- Donte Stallworth, an NFL wide receiver, was
sentenced on June 16, 2009 to two years house arrest for killing a
pedestrian with his vehicle while driving intoxicated in Miami,
House arrest in
- ^ a
Levinson, David. (2002). Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment:
Volumes I-IV. SAGE Publications. p. 859. ISBN
Spohn, Cassia. (2008). How Do Judges Decide?: The Search for
Fairness and Justice in Punishment. SAGE Publications Inc. p.
52. ISBN 978-1412961042
Mele, Christopher. (2005). Civil penalties, social
consequences. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 978-0415948234
Jupp, James; Nieuwenhuysen, John; Dawson, Emma. (2007). Social
Cohesion in Australia. Cambridge University Press. p. 183.
Q&A: Terrorism laws.
BBC News Online. July 3, 2006
Juliet Lapidos (January 28, 2009). "You're Grounded!How do you qualify for house
arrest?". Slate Magazine. http://www.slate.com/id/2209984/.
Background note: Nigeria.
U.S. Department of State
Anti-terrorism law row rumbles
on. BBC News Online. March 12, 2005