House Arrest Rules and Qualifications in Wisconsin

By Paul Caruso
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In the state of Wisconsin some criminal offenders may have the opportunity to serve out all or part of their term of incarceration in their homes, rather than in jail or prison. There are stringent rules under this Electronic Monitoring Program, otherwise known as "house arrest", provided by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Violation of any of these rules may result in the offender having to complete their sentence in a traditional detention facility.

Who Gets House Arrest

In Wisconsin, the sentencing court may prescribe electronic monitoring over jail time for individuals with lower-level offenses. A common occurrence is the use of electronic monitoring for DWI convictions. The state also employs this brand of "community" or "intensive" supervision during the pretrial release period of some individuals awaiting prosecution for a DWI offense. Under the state's Pretrial Intoxicated Driver Intervention program, repeat DWI offenders may be placed in an electronic monitoring program which also requires home blood alcohol content (BAC) monitoring.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Division of Community Supervision Probation and Parole Manual, certain classes of offenders are likely to receive electronic home monitoring as a condition of release. Priority for placement in these programs goes to "assaultive" offenders and to any and all paroled individuals convicted of a sexual crime. Additionally, a parolee, while under investigation for possible revocation of parole, may be placed on house arrest and monitored electronically.

Bracelets and Telephones

Individuals on electronic monitoring house arrest in Wisconsin are outfitted with an ankle bracelet which contains a transmitter. A parameter around the offender's residence is established by their parole or probation officer. The phone in the home prisoner's domicile is fitted with a monitoring unit. The monitoring unit picks up the signal transmitted by the bracelet and sends information on the offender's whereabouts within the parameter back to a Department of Corrections (DOC) monitoring center. All individuals undergoing a period of house arrest must complete Enrollment-Residence-Employment and Electronic Monitoring Schedule/Curfew schedules which must be approved by their supervising officer. These schedules dictate acceptable absences from the established parameter. Any requested changes must be faxed to the DOC monitoring center at least eight hours prior to taking effect.

Violations

There are several ways in which Wisconsin offenders on house arrest may violate the guidelines of the program. The monitoring bracelets provided by the Wisconsin DOC are designed to report whether they are in contact with skin. Likewise, they are designed to stop transmitting if tampered with (broken or severed). If the monitoring unit reports to the DOC monitoring center that the bracelet is out of contact with you or if the bracelet is unresponsive, DOC personnel are required to verify whether you have absconded by either calling your residence or showing up in person. If they find that you have indeed absconded, a warrant for your arrest will be issued and, if caught, you will be incarcerated and possibly charged with escape.

As many individuals on electronic monitoring house arrest have been convicted of sexual crimes, the Washington DOC may also outfit the homes of any victims with protection orders against the offender with monitoring units. If one of these units detects an offender within a prohibited distance, it will report this violation to the DOC monitoring center and the offender will be arrested, returned to custody and possibly face additional charges or a lengthened term of incarceration.

If an offender is on house arrest in Wisconsin for a DWI offense, they will most likely have a breathalyzer-type device to periodically monitor blood alcohol content attached to their home monitoring unit. A positive test for alcohol also results in the offender's house arrest sentence being transferred to a term of incarceration.

About the Author

Paul Caruso is a freelance journalist with many years experience writing on a diverse set of subject matter. Caruso has written on technology, health, environment and international politics. His work has appeared in several publications, including Worlpress.org and NewsTarget.com.