House arrest has emerged as an important and viable alternative to traditional incarceration in the United States. Detaining non-violent inmates at home helps to relieve the problem of overcrowded prisons as well as the problem of overtaxed state budgets. Finding more economical ways to deal with the prison problem allows a state, such as Mississippi, to use its economic resources for other issues such as education and health care.
Mississippi Prison Statistics
Most prisons in the United States are overcrowded, but Mississippi is one of the worst. The Mississippi Criminal Defense Blog has compiled a report based on a recent book by Nicole Porter titled "Incarceration Trends in Mississippi 1988 to 2008." The State of Mississippi has the second highest incarceration rate in the United States. The number of persons behind bars has tripled since 1988, and 2/3, or 64 percent, of these criminals are non-violent or drug offenders. Porter's search found that incarcerating drug and non-violent offenders cost the state of Mississippi $244 million dollars in 2008. Given these statistics, Porter's work as encouraged Mississippi to expand the house arrest system as an alternative to traditional incarceration for non-violent offenders.
Elgibility For Mississippi House Arrest
House arrest, in Mississippi, is referred to as the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP). Eligibility for the ISP program is determined by a judge or by the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The inmate must be 15 months from his or her earliest release date and be in either a minimum or medium security prison. The inmate must be a non-violent offender. Prisoners who are convicted or charged with violent crimes, sex offenses, or aggressive behavior while incarcerated, are disqualified.
House Arrest Rules
The prisoner must wear an electronic monitoring device at all times. It is attached to the inmate's ankle. The monitoring device transmits a GPS signal that is connected to a police control headquarters. The prisoner cannot leave the home without permission. Alcohol and firearms are strictly prohibited in the home while the prisoner is under house arrest.
The Right To Leave The Home
Prisoners serving time under house arrest may apply for permission to leave the home for special purposes. Permission is contingent on the inmate's sentence and on an ISP officer's judgment granting permission. Reasons for leaving the home include work, community service, church service, and personal reasons such as doctor visits. The inmate must wear the monitoring device at all times.