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Offenders' Perceptions of House Arrest and Electronic Monitoring

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 48 Issue: 6 Dated: August-September 2009 Pages: 547-570
Jamie S. Martin; Kate Hanrahan; James H. Bowers Jr.
Date Published
August 2009
24 pages
This study examined the perceptions of house arrest (HA) and electronic monitoring (EM) among offenders who had recently experienced this criminal sentence.
Results indicate that while being sentenced to HA is preferable to being incarcerated, it is still a punitive sanction. The punitive aspects of HA with EM seemed to manifest in three specific ways: the restrictive nature of this sanction that offenders are subject to both at home and in daily activities; the significant financial costs that are placed on the offender and/or family members; and the degree to which this sanction causes embarrassment/shame for the offender. As an intermediate sanction, HA with EM is less restrictive than incarceration, though it is clear that this criminal sanction places a severe financial burden on many offenders. While HA with EM is not as harsh a sentence as is incarceration, this sanction does have the ability to effectively punish offenders. The physical restrictions placed on offenders, the shaming effects associated with this sanction, and the financial burdens that are imposed are significant. The ability to continue working, access services available in the community that may not be available in correctional institutions, and maintain contact with family provide opportunities for offenders to reflect upon and learn from the mistakes they made, providing an opportunity for rehabilitation to occur. Data were collected from 61 offenders from 3 counties in western Pennsylvania who had experienced a sentence of HA with EM. Tables, figures, note, and references