Life After Prison (Home Confinement)

Posted: April 3, 2013 in Life after Prison
Tags: , , , , , ,

Many Federal Prisoners will encounter an entirely different life once they have been released from Federal Prison.  Some will encounter a completely different world compared to the one they left when they were first arrested.  Some have rarely used a computer and most haven’t seen they way the internet has evolved and become such an integral part of most everyone’s daily life.

While the former inmate may be dealing with all of these change they also have to deal with Probation, Community Corrections, or even Home Confinement.  I know I didn’t miss a lot while I was locked up (for 3 months).  However, the “Release System” is extremely challenging (although a necessary evil for some) to truly reintegrate of an individual into overall society.  Of course all of this depends on the Probation Officer you have assigned to you.

My crime was White Collar and didn’t have a victim per se.  I received a 3-month prison sentence and 12-months home confinement.  Do I think the sentence is fair?  Well, most of those with felony convictions would tell you no and I won’t be any different.  The length of time was a little extreme, but it is what it is and I’ll muttle through it.

Home Confinement is just that.  You are confined to your residence for 24 hrs a day unless you receive permission from your probation officer to leave.  Essentially, here is how it works:  Prior to your release a probation officer will come to you “release residence” to inspect your home to decide if it will be suitable for a convicted felon to live.  They basically are looking into whether there are any weapons, contraband, or other items that may be seen as illegal when you are released.

Once your site is approved, your final paperwork will be processed.  Once you are released you have 24 hrs to report to your probation officer.  Mine allowed me to call in to check-in.  Some will require that you show up in person.  Usually you are allowed 2-3 days to be on your own without monitoring.  This gives you a short period of time to get everything in order.  For me that meant I had to get my phone lines updated and ready for the monitoring system (all you can have a is a basic phone line with no extra features like Call Waiting, Call Return, Voicemail, etc.).  I also had to find a new phone because cordless phones apparently are not allowed to be connected to the phone line.  Just because you meet all of these requirements the Probation Officer can still deny your release location and send you to a half-way house or another address.

Once you have the line hooked up the probation officer will come by your house, hook up your ankle bracelet, and connect the monitoring device to your phone line.  This device has a gyroscope within it so any movement, jolting, lifting, or change of location will send an alert to the officer.  My particular device is not GPS monitored so it only tells the probation department when I get outside of 50 yards from my home.  In order to be excused from your home you must have a job, doctors appointment, court date, and/or permission from your probation officer.  Any appointments must be made 3 days in advance and it is required that it be submitted in writing (email or fax).  Even then you are no guaranteed permission to leave.  You have to call the morning of the release to verify that it has been approved.

This procedure is also required for grocery shopping, haircuts, and getting gas for your car.  You are not allowed to go to any restaurants (sit-down; get used to drive-thru).  Oh and if you live with someone who is capable of doing things like grocery shopping, don’t plan on going (at least with my PO).  While the probation department has the leniency to modify your confinement do not plan on it happening.  Oh well!  Eventually you get used to.  There are days when I think that being in prison was a lot better.  I can’t go exercise, I can’t catch a movie, and I can’t just go to another persons’ home while locked up in my home.  However, there are many other things that outweigh these negatives.  I do get to see my family when they are in town, I do get to sleep in my own bed without hearing 3-4 guys snoring loudly, and I don’t have to worry about standing up to be counted 3-4 times a day.

Everyday is a challenge but I’m thankful that I am here and able to spend time with the ones I love.

I’m pretty sure everyone on probation has a different story.  Again it all depends on the PO and your living conditions.  Some will give you a curfew, others will visit you on a regular basis, and still others are monitored by GPS.  If you have a story and would like to share, just leave a comment.

  1. Mike says:

    Nice to see this blog

  2. lissa says:

    My husband is going to a halfway house in bkyln ny in may 2014 what should we expect , and when will he go on home confinement, he was given 9 months halfway house, he also has a job waiting for him.

    • Bryan says:

      I really can’t give you any accurate information regarding Halfway Houses. I never spent any time there; I went straight to home confinement. Rumors are that as soon as an individual gets to the Halfway House (RRC) they will be given an opportunity to acclimate themselves for a couple of days. In other words they will not be allowed to leave the house, look for a job, or anything else. After they have been given permission they can go look for a job (your husband has one so that is great). They want you to get a job because you will have to pay a percentage of your wages to the halfway house. I have no idea what that would be. Also visitation may be limited. After a couple of weeks (if he stays that long) they will allow overnight night visits home during the weekend.

      As far as when he would go on home confinement in all honesty is up to Probation Department. I’ve heard rumors that individuals go to the halfway house and then are release within 2 weeks (although they still have to pay their fees). Again, whether that is true or not I really don’t know. I’m very happy for you and your husband! I wish the both of you the best of luck and let us know how things are going!!!

      • lissa says:

        Thank you so much for responding back to me, this is all new for me. I will keep you posted on how things are going once he goes to the halfway house , thank you again.

  3. Tom says:

    My situation is strangely like yours: white-collar offense, but I was sentenced straight to home confinement for six months, which ends tomorrow. The worst part was not being able to go to the gym, even though it is in my building! I never had to go to a camp, so I’ve always been home. I consider myself (VERY) fortunate, as I never had to worry about my safety, I get to see my wife everyday, eat my own food, and get fresh air when I want.

    My home confinement ends tomorrow. Not sure how that works; guess they’ll just show up and take the bracelet off. Either way, I’m glad to have made it through!

  4. Anonymous says:

    we have been approved for home confinement. About how much longer before the person comes home is it months or just a few weeks?

    • Bryan says:

      There really is no set time, but they do try to do the inspections within 2-3 months of release. It all depends on the institution in which your loved one is held. Some institutions handle these requests well in advance of a release so they do not have to rush the system. Others do them very last minute. Your loved one should be able to get an estimated date from their counselor. When the request for the inspection is made from the counselor they already have a date of release in mind. Also, keep in mind they may send them to a halfway house prior to beginning their home confinement.

      As with all the answer I give, circumstances define the results and I can’t give you any definitive information. However, I hope the answer I did gave you some insight as to what may be happening.

      Good Luck

  5. Melissa B says:

    My husband was at minimum security prison in Bastrop, Tx. The PO contacted me to come do a home visit and so we thought hopefully he was coming to home confinement but he’s being transferred to a camp much closer to me in Big Spring, Tx. Do you think since the PO did the home visit that he still may come straight to home confinement from the camp? His scheduled release date is in June of 2015 but we are really hoping he comes home sooner on the ankle monitor. The PO was very nice and said he would approve the paperwork on his end.

    Your story is very interesting and I’m happy to hear you found work. I work as an HR Manager and I’m really pushing our company to consider felons for employment.

    • Bryan says:

      Sounds to me like he may be getting ready to come home. However, there is no way to tell how long from now that may be. With the PO contacting visiting your home they are doing their due diligence to determine what type of home your husband will be coming home to. Since he has less than a year left on his sentence I wouldn’t be surprised if he is at least at halfway house within six months. However, keep in mind any decisions are purely the responsibility of the his Case Manager and the BOP. In other words, don’t believe anything until it happens. Sometimes case managers will do this because it takes time to get all the paperwork completed.

      I don’t know how long you husband has been incarcerated, but if it was a period longer than a year there is a strong possibility he will end up at a halfway house before you he goes straight home, especially if it was a drug charge. It does sound like there is some good news on the horizon. Good luck to you and let us know how everything turns out.

    • k says:

      Hey my husband is in Big Spring as well. I wanted to know did he ever get home confinement and if so how many months early did they give it to him

  6. Tina says:

    I have a good friend that is in on a 23 month supervised release violation. His release is set for next year however, they came to him and told him his family had to have a phone line installed by June 5th. This was done by June 2nd. How much longer do you think he will be held before being released to home confinement?

    • Bryan says:

      I did some thinking on this and asked some friends that work for the BOP. They actually thought it was kind of odd that they asked that the phone line be install by a particular date. Especially since his release date is a ways off. Without knowing the specifics on his case there really is no telling. I know of one guy that had to wait at lease 6 months before he was release after they told him to get a new phone line (although there were some extenuating circumstances that didn’t allow him to leave right away). The chances of early release on a violation are slim (of course it depends on the violation also). It also depends on his counselor and and unit manager as well as the how the judge ruled during his violation hearing; as to whether he is released.

      I couldn’t give you an answer as to how long he would have to wait because there are many other factors that may be playing into things. I can tell you that it is a good sign that they are requesting the phone line and get the PO to do the home inspection. The rest is the up the Probation Department and the management of the prison he is being held in.

      Hopefully that helps. I’m sorry I can’t give you a more definitive answer, but the BOP doesn’t work in direct conversation. They always seem to speak in code when it comes times for release.

  7. JermainsWife says:

    My husband case manager is just starting his paperwork for the halfway house. His original release date from the feds is 6/7/15. Do you know about how long it will take him to get a date to leave for the HWH.

  8. Teia says:

    My husband is on home confinement and my daughter was playing with the phone (she is 3yrs old) and turned the ringer off…they were attempting to call and his bracelet went off he called immediately after…they informed him that this will be a write up/violation and I am so nervous that he will have to stay I’m the half way house …he had to report weekly and will go in to report to his worker tomorrow ….what happens if you don’t answer the phone …the phone is so basic I can’t really hear the ringer anyway smh I just hope they give him a second chance

    • Bryan says:

      Every home monitoring system is different. The one I was on for example didn’t require me to answer the phone. The system would call and then download all the information from my monitoring device. I could tell when I was out of range as well as when they were calling. I really don’t know the type of device your husband is using. The best thing you could do is make sure the phone is in an area you are most regularly in your home and keep it out of your daughters hands as best you can. My hope is that you have a PO that will at least work with you or be understanding. However, if it happens on a regular basis they won’t tolerate it and write your husband up immediately or violate him and send him back.

  9. Anonymous says:

    if someone is in a federal bootcamp they was told that they have 17 months but the probation people called to come to your house to see your house how long after that does it take for them to get out

    • Bryan says:

      There really is no telling. It could take 3, 6, 9 months. There really is no way to tell. The probation department may be doing multiple visits and this is just a preliminary visit. They may visit again as it gets closer. Ultimately the decision is made by both the Probation Department and BOP Officials. I’m not sure if this person had a total stint of 17 months or if they just have 17 months remaining. They could preparing for a 6 & 6 (6 months Halfway & 6 months home confinement). I know that is not a definitive answer, but it is the best I can do.

  10. amanda leigh says:

    my husbands probation officer came by my house yesterday to do a home check. Do you have any idea about how long it will be from now till he comes home on parole?

    • Life in a Federal Prison Camp says:

      Unfortunately the amount of time it takes between the probation visit and release varies. It can be 2 weeks, 2 months, or 6 months. I know that may not be the answer you’re after but just know that if the have visited then there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Sounds like he may be getting out soon.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If you are sentenced to a halfway house for a white collar crime for one year and a year of home confinement after, will you serve the entire year at the halfway house or can they still send you to home confinement before the year is up?

    • Life in a Federal Prison Camp says:

      Most individuals who are sent to a halfway house do not serve the entire term there. However it always depends on the Probation Department. Rumor has it (I did not go to a halfway house) is that if you leave early you will still be charged for the entire term. That is pure speculation.

  12. Ralph says:

    My friend was sentenced to 1 year halfway house then to 1 year home confinement what are the chances he will serve the entire first year in the halfway house. Is there a chance they send him to home confinement sooner?

    • Life in a Federal Prison Camp says:

      There is a chance he will not spend the entire time at a halfway house but it will depend on the probation department.

  13. Loretta says:

    What phone companies would you recommend for basic phone service that meet the requirements for home confinement? My fiancé is currently at Bastrop serving for a white collar offense and he asked me to send him/his counselor a copy of our phone bill. We currently have digital home phone service through Time Warner. Also, he was advised by his counselor that his eligibility date for home confinement is 9/2016, can we expect to know the approval (we hope for) prior to that date?

    • Life in a Federal Prison Camp says:

      Most phone companies will be fine (all depends on the device the Probation Department chooses to use). However you will need to know that you cannot have any “extras” like call waiting, call hold, caller id, etc. Also if it is a phone that is used often you may want to look at getting a new line. Again, depending on the system it makes outgoing calls in an unscheduled manner and if you are on the phone when it tries make the call it could be considered a violation. The probation office will do a home inspection prior to him coming home. Things move very slow and chances are he will unfortunately have to wait until 9/16.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Were there any restrictions on visitors coming to the house or staying overnight? My mom is coming home from a prison camp next month on home confinement and she is moving in with me. She is telling me that only people that are on an approved visitors list can even stop by the house.

    • Life in a Federal Prison Camp says:

      It’s really going to depend on the Probation Officer overseeing their home confinement as well as the charges they have. Some home confinement can have those restrictions. Once they meet with the Probation Officer after their release all the rules and guidelines will be laid out for her. She may only have an approved list of people she can have contact with, she just needs to clarify this at their first meeting.

  15. Renee Stittiams says:

    I have a question. My fiance been in jail for seven months but he hasn’t been sent to federal prison. They called and said they want to do a home inspection in November. I want to know why would they do a home inspection if he haven’t signed for any time yet? Is it a possibility he’s coming home??? I only heard of home visit only happening after you’ve served your time and preparing to be released, not before. Can someone please answer that for me???

    • Life in a Federal Prison Camp says:

      I know that prior to myself going in I had to have a home visit for my pre-sentence report. It is possible that this is what they are doing. Other than that I couldn’t answer the reasons as to why they would need a home inspection.

  16. Tara D Slough says:

    Once they approve the home you will be released to and the person you’re paroling out to signs paperwork how long is it usually before you’re released?

    • Life in a Federal Prison Camp says:

      Unfortunately I won’t be able to give you a definitive answer. The decision to releases someone to a home or half-way house is made by the DOJ, the individuals counselor, and the probation officer. I had seen some get released very quickly and others that took several months. All three entities have to be in agreement.

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