Exploring the multifarious penalising impacts of electronically monitored home detention based sanctions on offenders.

Paper presented at #husITa14 in Melbourne, Australia, July, 2014.


husITa14 Session

Marietta Martinovic (RMIT University, Australia).


Home detention based sanctions with electronic monitoring have expanded throughout the Western world on the basis of plentiful and rigorous conditions and strict surveillance and monitoring mechanisms, which encompass various electronic monitoring devices. These are imposed on offenders to strictly control their movement and more generally to protect the community. A plethora of research has focused on the effectiveness-related issues of home detention based sanctions, but there has been limited research on how offenders relate to punishment on these sanctions. This paper therefore analyses the impact of ‘electronically monitored incarceration at home’ on offenders, and it attempts to fill a significant gap in criminological research.

A qualitative analysis of Western world studies has indicated that conditions of home detention with electronic monitoring impact on the offenders’ life in terms of three main influences: restrictions/obligations, facilitating control factors, and the combined effects of these. Restrictions/obligations are directly imposed on offenders with the primary purpose of punishing and to a lesser extent rehabilitating them; these include limiting movements, monetary obligations, and the enforcement of a pro-social lifestyle. The facilitating control factors refer to the imposition of stringent controls that monitor offenders’ compliance with the restrictions/obligations. Finally, the combined burdensome effects result from compliance with restrictions/obligations and facilitating control factors. These include under-duress social interaction, exposure to temptations, persistent alertness and feelings of insecurity. Consistent with social learning and social bond theories, this paper has found that although offenders find the enforced changes to their lifestyle ‘penalising’, in the majority of cases, home detention seems to, strengthen offenders’ ties with conventional society, provide them with an ability to handle real life stresses, and create a desire to live a pro-social lifestyle.



Back to programme

%d bloggers like this: