Is Home Confinement a Good Alternative to Incarceration in Prison?

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East Hartford Criminal Law AttorneyThe system of mass incarceration in the United States has led to large numbers of people being imprisoned. At any given time, around 500,000 people are being held in prisons throughout the United States, and more than 10 million people are admitted to prisons each year. As the prison system strains to house and provide care for all of these prisoners, criminal justice advocates are calling for other solutions, including alternatives to incarceration. Since 2020, the use of home confinement has increased, and it may provide a more cost-effective and humane solution that will improve public safety.

Home Confinement Under the CARES Act

In 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which allowed for the use of home confinement for federal prisoners who were at risk of serious illness due to the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. Home confinement was used for prisoners who were most vulnerable, including those who are elderly or who have significant health issues. This program has been very successful, giving many prisoners the opportunity to reintegrate into the community and remain safe from harm.

Remarkably, only a minuscule number of federal prisoners who were placed on home confinement under the CARES Act reoffended. Of around 11,000 people who were released during the height of the pandemic, only 17 were charged with new crimes. Almost all of these were minor drug offenses, and only one person committed a violent crime. In total, over 50,000 prisoners have been placed on home confinement since 2020, and many of them have been able to complete their sentences in this manner.

Home confinement provides a safe, effective way to allow prisoners to complete their sentences without being in the dangerous environment of a prison. In these cases, offenders are not simply released back into the public. Instead, they are subject to a variety of restrictions, including the requirement to wear electronic ankle monitors, limits on when they can leave their homes (such as for work or medical appointments), and regular drug testing. These are equivalent to the restrictions that would apply to those who are incarcerated in prisons, but they allow a person to live in a safer and more healthy environment, maintain relationships with their loved ones, continue working, and be better prepared to fully re-enter society after completing their sentences.

The success of this program shows that home confinement should be considered as an option for the many people who are imprisoned throughout the United States. The majority of offenders are incarcerated for minor, non-violent offenses, such as drug possession or theft. The unfairness of the current system is apparent, since a disproportionate number of people held in prison are minorities or people with low incomes who cannot afford to pay bail and be released while their criminal cases are pending. Around half of the people currently being held in jails and prisons would qualify for home confinement under the CARES Act. The increased use of this option would lead to lower costs to taxpayers while also improving public safety.

Contact Our Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer

For many people, the criminal justice system in the United States is unfair and unjust. However, as lawmakers and public officials take steps to implement reforms, more options may be available for those who are incarcerated or who are facing criminal charges. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we provide legal representation in multiple types of criminal cases, and we work to ensure that our clients are treated fairly. We can provide a strong defense in criminal courts, and we can also help prisoners determine their options regarding alternative sentencing, home confinement, or early release. Contact our Hartford criminal defense attorney at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help protect your rights.

 

Sources:

https://thecrimereport.org/2022/12/29/home-confinement-a-safe-alternative-to-mass-incarceration/

https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/faq.jsp

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/29/prison-release-covid-pandemic-incarceration/

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