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If you believe probation and house arrest are the same, you are not alone. The two words are often used interchangeably, but a few key differences separate probation from house arrest. In this blog post, I will explain these differences and elaborate on Mississippi and Tennessee house arrest and probation laws.

The most crucial distinction between probation and house arrest is the nature of the two terms. Probation is an alternative to incarceration, where a probation officer usually supervises offenders for a period determined by the judge.

What is house arrest?

House arrest describes a specific type of probation in which offenders can spend their jail sentence at home, but they are subject to house arrest rules and ankle monitoring devices. Basically, you are on probation if you’re on house arrest, but you don’t have to be on house arrest to be on probation.

There are no predetermined decisions like there are for house arrest. The sentencing judge determines probation rules in both Mississippi and Tennessee. In addition, people on probation might not be required to report to a probation officer, but people on house arrest are required to do so. Offenders on house arrest must also wear an ankle device, while people on other types of probation do not have to do this.

What is Mississippi’s Intensive Supervision Program (ISP)?

House arrest in Mississippi is called Intensive Supervision Program (ISP). To be eligible for ISP, offenders must be convicted of a nonviolent crime and be a low risk to society — convictions for drug sales, violent offenses, sex crimes, or crimes involving a deadly weapon are never considered for ISP. In addition, an offender who has already served time for a felony cannot be considered for ISP.

Individuals on ISP must follow several rules:

  • Maintain employment if they are physically able to or maintain full-time student status
  • Be involved in supervised job searches
  • Pay compensation to their victim if deemed appropriate
  • Pay program fees of at least $80 per month
  • Cannot change their place of residence without the probation officer’s approval
  • Allow drug and alcohol searches of their home and comply with alcohol and drug testing as requested by the officer
  • Perform at least 10 hours of community service per month
  • Subject to a curfew

To ensure they are following their curfew, offenders must also wear an electronic ankle device that monitors their location. However, offenders don’t have to stay inside their homes the entire time they are on ISP. They can go to work, church, medical, and substance abuse treatment facilities.

What is house arrest like in Tennessee?

In most cases, Tennessee and Mississippi house arrest rules and eligibility are the same. Tennessee house arrest laws are similar to Mississippi’s, except house arrest in Tennessee is known as electronic ankle monitoring. Offenders must have committed a nonviolent crime and pose a low risk to society. They also have a curfew, are not confined to their home, can travel to other places, must submit to random drug tests, and may be subject to monthly community service hours and drug and alcohol abstinence.

What can I do if I’m facing a criminal charge?

House arrest — or any type of probation — is better than incarceration, but it is not easy to obtain. It’s common for the court prosecutor to recommend an offender for probation, but only if the offender pleads guilty to the crime, which is often not ideal. To get the best outcome for your case, you need an experienced lawyer who knows how to handle the possibility of probation.

If you or a loved one need assistance obtaining probation, I am here to help. Call me at (662) 372-1622 to discuss how I can fight for your case.