The court may grant a probation term to those individuals who commit crimes or it may sentence them to prison. Offenders on probation follow a number of conditions under the supervision of probation officers (Whitehead, 2010). The court requires the offenders to refrain from future possession of weapons, obey the probation officer’s orders, reside in a directed residence, just to mention a few. Sometimes, the court requires the offenders on probation to bear electronic tags, which will enable the probation officers to be aware of the offenders’ whereabouts (Whitehead, 2010). This discussion will consider the work of Intensive Probation, House Arrest, and Electronic Monitoring work in the probation department, and their effectiveness.
Intensive Probation refers to a program in the probation department, which offers improved supervision of offenders (Siegel & Welsh, 2011). The court requires probationers under this program to have increased responsibility, accountability, and structure. Intensive Probation Supervision puts emphasis on the maintenance fiscal responsibility, regular employment, community service work, development of life-styles that are permanently free from crime, and abstinence from the use of illicit drugs (Whitehead, 2010). In addition, this program ensures that probationers complete the restitution work, deliver weekly schedules detailing daily routines, and sign over paychecks so that to take off court-ordered pecuniary obligations, which include compensating their victims. This program allows for screening of cases by use of different screening assessments to determine their appropriateness. This program is effective in reducing recidivism among the offenders (Siegel & Welsh, 2011).
House Arrest refers to a penalty that the law imposes to an offender and court condemns him or her to stay in his or her own house (Siegel & Welsh, 2011). This program is usually suitable for minor offenses. In some cases, House Arrest is useful when the prisoner maintenance cost has escalated, and the government is unable to cater for the needs of additional inmates (Siegel & Welsh, 2011). In this program, offenders wear an electronic device that uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to notify relevant authorities when the offender moves out of the allowed range. Therefore, this program shares some characteristics with the Intensive Probation Supervision because the offender does not spend his or her time in a correctional facility. House Arrest allows the prisoners to attend some places for various activities, such as a visit to the medical attendant or to grocery stores (Whitehead, 2010). Unlike people’s perception on the effectiveness of the Intensive Probation Supervision, some people criticize House Arrest program because it appears to offer a punishment in which the prisoners feel comfortable. Offenders under this program have access to various comforts such as use of Internet, telephone, and other home appliances. Prisoners will easily forget that the program is not a punishment, which will contradict the program’s benefits (Siegel & Welsh, 2011). Therefore, House Arrest may not effectively discourage people from doing criminal offences.
Electronic Monitoring program of the probation department is a program that allows offenders to stay in their communities as they are undergoing close supervision by the supervision staff (Siegel & Welsh, 2011). The supervision staff makes use of the electronic monitoring system supervise offenders in an intense manner. Criminal Justice System manages offenders under the electronic monitoring program than other offenders within the community. Like the House Arrest and the Intensive Probation Supervision, Electronic Monitoring is useful in diverting offenders from local jails, and act as a deterrent to probationers and parolees that the Criminal Justice System is managing in the community (Whitehead, 2010). Electronic monitoring program shares other properties with the House Arrest program such as the use of the GPS for tracking offenders, which accurately informs the authorities the whereabouts of the probationers (Siegel & Welsh, 2011). This program also allows the defendants to attend school, various appointments, counseling, and work. Like in House Arrest, probationers in the Electronic monitoring program may forget that the program is not a punishment and, therefore, not effective in preventing criminal offences in the community (Siegel & Welsh, 2011).