61 Fed. Probation 19 (1997)
The Cost Effectiveness of Using House Arrest with Electronic Monitoring for Drunk Drivers

handle is hein.journals/fedpro61 and id is 233 raw text is: The Cost Effectiveness of Using House Arrest
With Electronic Monitoring for Drunk Drivers

HIS ARTICLE describes a county house arrest
with electronic monitoring (EM) program and its
cost effectiveness during its first full year of oper-
ation (October 1, 1992, through October 1, 1993). Since
the county under examination is located in Western
Pennsylvania, we will refer to it as Western County.
Similarly, we will refer to the probation department lo-
cated within Western County as the Western County
Probation Department. This will be done to ensure
anonymity. Since the majority of house arrest with EM
participants in this county were arrested for the crime
of driving under the influence (DUI), only those arrested
for DUI were included in the study (N = 57). Although
intermediate sanctions such as house arrest and EM are
increasingly popular due to the bridge they form be-
tween standard probation and incarceration, what is
perhaps most important to those presently operating or
considering implementing intermediate punishment
(IP) programs is whether officials can avoid incarcera-
tion costs, i.e., jail days, by diverting sufficient numbers
of jail-bound offenders into these new programs.
Some studies have found house arrest with EM pro-
grams to be cost effective (Armstrong et al., 1987; For-
gach, 1992; Flynn, 1986; Lilly et al., 1992; Lilly et al.,
1993) while some have found that such programs were
too expensive or did not seriously relieve jail over-
crowding (Ball et al., 1988; Petersilia, 1986). Other re-
ports (Forgach, 1992; Palumbo et al., 1992) also have
been negative, finding instances of net widening, an oc-
currence where offenders not bound for jail are given a
more intrusive and more expensive sanction than what
they normally would have received had the new pro-
gram not existed. In other words, if offenders who
would have normally been sentenced to standard pro-
bation are now being sentenced to an IP program,. e.g.,
house arrest, intensive supervision, or EM, simply be-
cause it is now available, then net widening would have
occurred. To summarize, research regarding the cost ef-
fectiveness of house arrest with EM programs has been
mixed. Meanwhile, these programs continue to grow at
a rapid rate (Klein-Saffran, 1992).
*Dr. Courtright is an assistant professor of criminal justice
at Hilbert College. Dr. Berg is an associate professor of crim-
inal justice at California State University-Long Beach. Dr.
Mutchnick is a professor of criminology at Indiana Univer-
sity of Pennsylvania.

The Development of IP Programs
Within Pennsylvania
In 1990, the General Assembly passed the County In-
termediate Punishment Act (1990), which resulted in
certain cells within the state's sentencing grid being
dedicated to non-confinement sentencing options. Coun-
ties were urged to submit their own intermediate pun-
ishment plans and were given financial incentive, in the
form of grants, to develop and maintain IP programs
that hopefully would eliminate the overcrowding crisis
that earlier sentencing guidelines had helped to create.
Present Pennsylvania law mandates certain periods of
confinement for DUI offenses, the categories of which are
all second-degree misdemeanors. For a first offense
within 7 years, the legislative penalty specifies a manda-
tory minimum confinement period of 48 hours (Vehicles
Law of Pennsylvania, 1994). A second DUI conviction
within 7 years yields 30 days of confinement, and a third
translates into a minimum of 90 days in confinement.
Lastly, a fourth conviction within 7 years is automatic
confinement for a minimum of 1 year in state prison. In
addition, offenders must usually pay a fine, attend an Al-
cohol Highway Safety Program (safe driving school), sur-
render their license for a period of 1 year, and be com-
mitted to a drug and alcohol treatment program for
evaluation and treatment (if recommended) purposes.
All offenders must serve a minimum of 48 hours in con-
finement, after which time it is possible for an offender
to be accepted into an IP program. The Intermediate
Punishment Sentencing Act (1990), however, mandates
that a defendant convicted under 75 Pa C.S. 3731(e) (re-
lating toDUI) may only be sentenced to IP: 1) in a resi-
dential inpatient program or in a residential rehabilita-
tive center or 2) by house arrest or electronic surveillance
combined with drug and alcohol treatment.
Participating offenders enter an IP program in lieu of
going to jail, and 1 day of EM or inpatient is equal to 1
day of confinement, representing true jail diversions
and assumed cost savings. An example will more
clearly illustrate the sentencing possibilities. If an of-
fender was sentenced to 30 days for a third DUI con-
viction, it would be possible for him to serve 2 days in
confinement, with the remainder of the confinement
sentence (28 days) being served under house arrest
with EM, or 28 days of inpatient treatment. Offenders
remain under active parole supervision once their jail
terms or IPs have expired. Once an offender completes
safe driving school, successfully completes drug/alcohol

Vol. 61, No. 3

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