What is house arrest? House arrest is a form of sentencing often used as an incarceration alternative for lower-level offenders. Those sentenced to house arrest are required to use electronic monitoring (EM) equipment, typically an ankle monitor containing a Global Positioning System (GPS) device that informs authorities or probation officials if the offender violates his or her house arrest conditions. House arrest may also be used by correctional departments to monitor pre-trial defendants. Placing pre-trial defendants under electronically monitored house arrest rather than in jail conserves valuable bed space for more serious offenders who need to be kept off the streets.
BI works with Pierce County-area courts and correctional departments to provide electronic monitoring technology for both pre-trial defendants and offenders sentenced to house arrest. BI electronic monitoring equipment is tamper-proof and features flexible mapping and alert systems for supervising officers. With BI’s years of experience in the corrections industry and with detention technology, courts and correctional officers can rely upon BI equipment to monitor offenders under house arrest.
Monitoring pre-trial or post-sentencing offenders under house arrest involves more than simply using an ankle bracelet to confine the person to a certain boundary area. Sometimes a person under “house arrest” is permitted a variety of boundary areas beyond their house, such as their place of employment or certain stores. BI’s built-in GPS system works even in challenging conditions, such as in moving vehicles, between tall buildings and, most importantly for a house arrest situation, indoors. Easily installed beacons seamlessly interact with the monitoring device, allowing supervising officers to designate workplaces, schools and other buildings as areas within the house arrest boundary.
Courts, sheriff’s departments and probation departments have utilized house arrest as an alternative to incarceration for years, but a rise in jail and prison overcrowding nationwide makes house arrest sentences and electronic monitoring equipment an increasingly integral part of the corrections system. In Washington State, many courts instruct offenders sentenced to house arrest to select a monitoring equipment provider and pay for the monitoring themselves – a model known as “offender-pay.” BI’s Tacoma office specializes in providing BI’s flexible monitoring services to offenders in the Western Washington area who receive a court order to enter house arrest. When it comes to EM technology, the BI advantage is our years of experience working with corrections officials and departments nationwide, and the fact that our offices provide a range of services. More than just providing the product, BI assists in the process from beginning to end.
House arrest can be an effective sentencing tool because it allows the offender to continue to work, pay any child support or alimony, continue their education and contribute to the community – while also serving their sentence. It isn’t the answer to rising overcrowding, but with reliable electronic monitoring, house arrest for pre-trial and as a sentencing alternative can reduce the need for brick-and-mortar prisons and jails, leaving counties more funds for evidence-based programs to reduce criminal behavior in communities and slow the cycle of incarceration.