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What are house arrest and electronic monitoring?

UPDATED: February 20, 2013

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House arrest (with or without electronic monitoring) allows a person who is sentenced to a jail term to spend the time at his home as an alternative to being physically confined to jail.

Electronic home detention is monitored using an electronic sensor strapped to an offender’s ankle and linked by telephone lines to a central computer which emits a continuous signal. If this signal is interrupted by the offender going beyond the authorized radius of the receiver, the host computer records the date and time of the signal’s disappearance. The computer will also record the date and time the signal resumes. If a signal interruption occurs during a period when the parolee should be at home, the violation is checked by the parole officer or other monitoring agency and the offender could be subject to arrest. Other systems rely upon Global Positioning Sensing (GPS), to detect if a probationer or parolee has strayed from his approved routes, which can generate a violation of probation or revocation of parole.

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