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EXPERIENCED. AGGRESSIVE. HOUSTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp

The Facts, Pros and Cons of Electronic Home Monitoring

Rather than spend time behind bars, offenders could be sentenced to electronic home monitoring. This is normally done in situations where an individual has committed a minor offense and allowing him to continue with daily activities is in the best interest of society.

What is Electronic Home Monitoring?

Electronic home monitoring involves having an individual wear a device that transmits a signal detailing its location. This is usually in the form of an ankle bracelet, which is placed on a person’s leg and requires a special device in order to remove it. A remote monitoring unit will track the signal that is transmitted in order to determine if a person has remained in the area he was confined to.

A land line phone may be required for the monitoring device to work properly. This line may pick up information collected by the ankle bracelet and then transmit it to local authorities. Some monitoring units are also capable of acting as breathalyzers, and this information can be sent over phone lines as well.

Allowable Activities

Certain allowances will be made so that individuals can work or take part in other permissible activities. These activities are generally very limited ones that are restricted to only those which are necessary. Some examples of permissible activities while undergoing electronic home monitoring include:

  • Going to work
  • Attending religious services
  • Job-hunting (if currently unemployed)
  • Attending drug and alcohol counseling
  • Appearing in court
  • Meeting with probation officers

Other activities may be allowed on a case-by-case basis depending on their necessity. Time away from home is not usually granted for social activities or personal recreation. Those who have scheduling conflicts or emergency situations should contact their probation officer as soon as possible to avoid being charged with violating the terms of probation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Home Monitoring

Electronic home monitoring allows people to maintain employment while they are serving their sentences. Defendants with children can take part in their care and maintain a relationship with them. People on house arrest have more freedom than inmates behind bars because they can eat what they want, have visitors more often and sleep in their own beds at night.

There are a few disadvantages to electronic home monitoring. The biggest is cost, as defendants must pay monitoring fees for this privilege. The amount of time spent on house arrest is usually longer than a jail sentence might be. Detainees have little right to privacy, as they can receive a visit day or night from their probation officer.

For more information about house arrest or electronic home monitoring, call The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp at 713-868-6100.

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