I have to admit, when I stood in the courtroom that day facing the rap, I had to hide my inner smile as I heard the beautiful words “sentenced to house arrest” come out of the Judges’ mouth. At that moment in time, I was giddy thinking to myself, this was going to be a cakewalk. I must also admit, I am an absolute idiot.

Yup, I really had no clue as to what was in store for me. No effing clue. You hear so many stories of privileged people in the world who serve their sentences on House Arrest, and instantly think How hard could it be?

How Hard is House Arrest

House Arrest is extremely hard and complicated for anyone, however much less so if you happen to be rich. Assuming you are not a dictator of some third-world country, nor some coked-up Hollywood starlet who’s crashed her third Bentley into a school bus this year, it will test every fiber of your mental and emotional being and be one of the most grueling challenges an ordinary human could ever endure. Fun times, huh… yeah, well there’s more:

What is House Arrest

Simply put, house arrest is a punishment by law where a person is confined by the authorities to their residence or another specified location as an alternative to jail sentencing. The term House Arrest is used interchangeably with other names such as:

  • Curfew
  • Community control
  • Supervision
  • Home detention
  • Home confinement
  • Electronic Monitoring

The more often widely used House Arrest (my fave), being the more popular household term (pun intended). Although the terminology and what it’s called will vary by an individual from state to state, and country to country, one thing universally recognized as one and the same is the absolute horror to it all.

Your residence, for all practical purposes has taken the place of a cell. Your cell mates, for all practical purposes are comprised of your family (lucky them).

Aside from being confined to your cell home, participants in this program have major restrictions imposed, such as:

  • Curfew.
  • Weekly reporting/scheduling/accounting of time and whereabouts.
  • Random (unplanned) drug testing.
  • Frequent (unplanned) and (awkward) random visits by probation officer to your place of residence and/or work.
  • Use of a stylish ankle bracelet to gauge your whereabouts 24/7.

*One note on (GPS) ankle monitoring; If you do happen to be in the fortunate group not needing to wear one, congrats! On the other hand, if you happen to be in the unfortunate gang needing to rock one, fret not my confined friend. Just keep reading, as I’m certain you’re bound (no pun intended/sorry, I’ll stop) in getting some useful info that may be applicable for your given situation.

House Arrest allows one the opportunity to retain a job(s) or seek employment, keep family responsibilities, attend rehabilitation programs and therapy, school, religious services, doctor, and even in some cases grocery shopping and dry cleaning.

It’s a way of serving your time while under heavy supervision of the court, all in effort to show that you are of better use and value to the world than being locked in a cage. The courts are then able to save the state some money by not having to house a prisoner, all while allowing them the opportunity to (re) integrate with society.

You would think win, win right? Wrong. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s almost designed for failure, seeing as there is a very strong possibility that you will violate and/or re-offend. Over a fifty percent chance to be more precise.

Read that part again.

There are heavy odds stacked against you that you’re going to mess this thing up. It is called recidivismand it should scare the hell out of you.

You may say How on earth could I mess this up? Why would I? Simply put, many individuals really have no clue of just how grueling House Arrest will be and are not prepared.

I know I wasn’t.

As a result, most, if not all that opt for House Arrest as punishment are ill prepared for what lays ahead. In a nutshell, life and all the problems that come with, but now with more stipulations and restrictions attached.

Be that as it may, it seems nowadays that house arrest has gained a bit of cache, as it has gone mainstream and become en-vogue in pop culture. Everyone from Wall Street swindlers, celebrity, on down to your local neighborhood conspirator are all lobbying for it.

Fashion Faux Paus …. I can’t believe she wore those shoes with that outfit.

There is a misnomer among individuals that House Arrest is soft, thinking you could sit at home all cozy and Netflix the night away, all while having free access to all the luxurious trappings of life. Yeah, not exactly.

How does it feel to be on House Arrest?

House Arrest has a very insidious nature to it, hell bent on destroying all aspects of one’s life and those around them till there is nothing left. House Arrest is a mindbender. Something that looks promising and appealing from the outside yet is host to logistical and technical nightmares that interfere with everyday real-life living, almost tempting one to run afoul of the law.

Now to those on the outside looking in, I know what you would like to say: Boo-hoo. Deal with it, this is your punishment. Yeah, yeah… just understand the tremendous toll it has on your loved ones.

Watch as it infects you personally, professionally, physically, and financially. All slowly and methodically. Very calculating. Soon, misery will ensue. Shortly thereafter, nothing will be left. That is, if you allow it.

It is very easy for an individual to get depressed and grow restless, ultimately leading to ill-fated decisions that would carry heavy consequences.

Things can go very dark very quick, and you could lose your mind.

It is a different form of lock down. But an all too familiar set of emotions and feelings attached as one would have surrounded by concrete walls. The monotony of day-to-day living can definitely wear you out.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Everyday. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Then pile up the additional stress of family, work, and bills, seeing as food, clothing, and shelter are not provided, and that ends up making a lot of individuals go ahead and opt for what’s behind door number two.

It’s a different form of survival mode. Loyalty and trust all come into question, spilling into very contentious, bitter disagreements.


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The divorce rate is already over fifty percent (not like that number needs any help) and now you stack this little hiccup you’re going through in life on top of an already frosty relationship, and your significant other may just throw in the towel.

Moving on to a lighter note, there are some positive benefits to being on House Arrest…

What are the benefits of being on House Arrest

House Arrest is a less severe punishment allowing for greater freedom and flexibility for an individual to live their life with less disruptions as opposed to adhering to a strict schedule while incarcerated.

House Arrest allows you to eat what you want, watch your own TV, have privacy, and even manage your sleep schedule. Visitors can come by at almost any time, although a curfew might be in place that limits contact after a specific time.

Introverts and homebody’s will definitely have less issues to contend with than your average social butterfly. Ironically, they are now armed and fully loaded with the perfect excuse to not attend certain get togethers, functions and/or family events.

I myself have partaken and enjoyed this glorious benefit many times getting to weasel out of certain social functions.

I need you to pick me up at the airport…

Sorry, I can’t, I’m on House Arrest.

Can you stop and get some eggs from the store after you get off work?

No can do…. I have to get home, I’m on House Arrest.

Hey Felon, you wanna hangout and go do something this weekend?

No. I don’t really like you. Plus, I can’t since I’m on house arrest. Maybe next time.

Like I said, you are now armed with the gold standard of all legitimate excuses. Use responsibly my friend.

Who is eligible for House Arrest?

House Arrest is not just sentenced and handed out to anyone. In order to be eligible, there are criteria that must be met to retain this option, such as:

  • First time offender
  • Non-violent
  • Those considered non-flight risks
  • Stable employment
  • Strong community ties
  • Dependent care (responsible for the well-being of others)
Sorry, Not Eligible….

All of these factors come into play, with the vantage point from the court being that you are less likely to break the terms and conditions of confinement with all that on the line.


Which brings us to the conclusion, and for someone to ask why? Why opt for this route -I mean, isn’t there an easier alternative?

Well, despite anything negative, House Arrest is still considered a great privilege.

You are given great power and (somewhat) control over your well-being. Like the saying, with that comes great responsibility.

It’s an opportunity to showcase your character without incident in this skewed scenario, all in an effort for it to lead to something positive. You also get the little things and the creature comforts. Things that are sometimes taken for granted, not realizing that they’re actually a big deal.

And you obviously wouldn’t get to enjoy it with the alternative option.

As weird and sad as it sounds, there are many who would prefer the actual prison sentence, as it eliminates the threat of violations (over fifty percent, remember) than having to start from scratch.

In essence, it’s gambling. And you’re betting on yourself. Only with the odds stacked heavily against someone to violate, the debate lingers on as to who benefits more on a supervision program, the $tate or the offender? It would be great if both, but generally that is not the case.

Also, not to minimize the role, but family, friends, counselors, officers, et cetera, can all offer support, but in the end, it is up to you to gamble heavily on yourself, bet the house (pun intended), and beat the odds.

By the way, I wrote this on the eve of completing a 24-month house arrest sentence….

The Educated Felon