House arrest

Like many people, I lead a hectic life: a demanding day job, another job as an author, a busy family. Some days I spend all my time running from the office to the kids’ schools to the office to the store to the bank to the store to the grocer to my house to the schools…. You get the drill. So perhaps it’s understandable if I occasionally have brief fantasies about having some wonderful excuse not to leave the house.

Like house arrest, maybe?

House arrest is an alternative to detention (jail or prison). It may be used while a suspect is awaiting trial or after he is convicted, as an alternative to locking him up. It’s generally used when the person is low risk and when incarceration might be difficult due to health concerns, family issues, or financial situations. In addition to making the person’s life easier than incarceration might, house arrest can have fewer bad effects on his family. It’s also cheaper than incarceration and helps reduce prison overcrowding.

When a person is placed under house arrest, he’s forbidden from leaving his home. There will usually be some exceptions, however. He is often allowed to go to work, medical appointments, religious services, and the like.

A person placed under house arrest is usually required to check in regularly with a probation officer. He’s also subject to having the probation officer make announced visits to his home. Technology has improved the ability to monitor people under house arrest. In previous years, probation officers might check in by calling the residence to ensure the person was home. But today the person might wear ankle bracelets with GPS tracking. Or they may be required to call in periodically via cell phone; the probation officer can track the location of the call.

I think if I were placed on house arrest, I’d probably go stir crazy after a short time. Still, it would be far better than sitting in jail.

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