Electronic monitoring isn’t just an option that’s allowed the famous and wealthy to avoid spending time in jail while awaiting trial or after a guilty plea or conviction. Yes, people like Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton have worn an ankle monitor for a time after their run-ins with the law.
However, with jails and prisons suffering from overcrowding, judges approve electronic monitoring as an alternative to spending time behind bars for many Texans who are first-time offenders and/or non-violent offenders and not considered a serious risk to the community. It’s also less expensive for the government – in part because defendants are typically required to pay for the cost of the equipment and the monitoring.
What’s involved in Texas electronic monitoring programs?
Although it’s often referred to as “house arrest,” those approved for electronic monitoring can often go outside their home for approved activities like going to work, school, community service and court dates.
Texas’ electronic monitoring programs are generally run by the corrections departments within the individual counties. Typically, people accepted into these programs face additional restrictions. For example, if a condition of electronic monitoring after a DWI is not to use alcohol, they may be fitted with a special type of ankle monitor that can detect alcohol in a person’s perspiration.
If you have the option of choosing electronic monitoring as an alternative to incarceration, be sure that you understand and will be able to comply with all of the restrictions and requirements that come with it. A judge has the authority to revoke your participation in the program and send you to jail if you don’t. With experienced legal guidance, you can choose the best alternative for you and, if you choose electronic monitoring, complete the program successfully.