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House Arrest Electronic Monitoring

House Arrest Electronic Monitoring Technology

Learn about using house arrest electronic monitoring to supervise offenders on home confinement.
Access helpful resources to guide you in the design or enhancement of an effective house arrest program.



What is House Arrest Electronic Monitoring?

Essentially, a house arrest monitor uses RF and GPS technologies to monitor the movement of selected high, medium, and low-risk offenders—both juvenile and adult—until they successfully complete the program or until they reach expiration of their sentence. Intensive supervised release is most often continuous—24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

House Arrest Electronic Monitoring Benefits

House arrest programs have the potential to reduce jail and prison overcrowding, to be more cost-effective than incarceration, to provide a flexible sentencing alternative, to provide an immediate sanction, and to provide a greater social benefit than incarceration. When an intensive supervision program is well run, it can accomplish a lot. House arrest electronic monitoring programs have been implemented successfully for decades. Nearly thirty years ago, in 1985, Terry Gassaway, then Director of the Clackamas County Community Corrections (CCCC) program, shared his enthusiasm for electronic monitoring with the National Institute of Corrections:

We cannot afford to incarcerate all offenders. At the same, we need a way to keep track of those offenders who aren’t being locked up. It [electronic monitoring] offers a whole new horizon in corrections.
from Designing An Electronic Monitoring Program: A Guide to Program Design, Implementation, and Management

Electronic monitoring is simply one aspect of a successful intensive supervised release program. Corrections agencies may use these programmatic elements in addition to electronic monitoring:

  • Treatment programs for drug/alcohol dependence, sex offenses, anger
  • Drug and alcohol testing or monitoring
  • Unannounced residential and work visits
  • Mandatory weekly or monthly work hours
  • Mandatory educational pursuit
  • Partial or whole payment of supervision fees

More Than A “Standard” House Arrest Device

The most successful house arrest electronic monitoring programs carefully consider the technology available, making sure to select the electronic monitoring that best meets their needs—technology that’s flexible and easy for the team to understand and use; technology that tracks indoors and outdoors; technology that is accurate and reliable; and technology that delivers data that’s easy to read and interpret.