If someone is under house arrest, that means they have been sentenced to wear an electronic home monitoring device, commonly called an ankle bracelet, under the supervision of the local probation department.
According to the Florida State University Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research, the number of convicted criminal who have been placed under house arrest for at least one day since 2000 exceeds 30,000. You can use public records to locate the term of someone's house arrest but you won't get that information from the probation department.
Compile the facts about the person or situation that you already know. This would include the name of someone who was arrested and possibly sentenced to probation. Include addresses and estimated dates for arrests and court appearances. Police agencies can fill in the gaps by providing incident or arrest reports if you ask them to search by name. Those reports should note which court handled the suspect's case. You can also ask police departments if they have a roster of those who are currently on probation in their jurisdiction or district.
Check the state corrections department or commission of correction website for inmate search functions, which are fairly common across the country. Search by name, date of conviction and the name of the city, town or county of conviction. The search function will not retrieve details of a person's parole or probation conditions after they complete their prison sentence but it will say if parole or probation terms are included in the sentence.
Visit the county or district criminal court clerk's office. Show her the information you have compiled so far. Because the effectiveness of home electronic monitoring is still being evaluated nationwide, the state Division of Criminal Justice Services may require the court to maintain a roster of convicted criminals who have been sentenced to that program. If not, ask for individual court files. Judges determine probation sentences so the house arrest dates should be included in the files. Either way, court records are public documents.
- Probation records are considered confidential and administrative, so don't approach that department for records. However, don't be afraid to ask a probation officer or supervisor for the information verbally. The worse they can do is say they're not allowed to disclose it.
- If any police agency or court asks you to submit a Freedom of Information request, provide a letter with your name and contact information as well as a description of the specific document your are looking for. Freedom of Information Laws don't require public agencies to create a document if one doesn't already exist, so you may have to sort through hundreds of court files to pinpoint who is under house arrest and the dates of that sentence.
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