Federal home Confinement and Supervised Release: Sam Mangel; Federal Prison Consultant

I am often asked what the difference is between home confinement and probation or supervised release for federal sentences.

What many people don’t understand is that there are very stark differences between the two, and that violation of either can result in serious new charges or your being returned to prison.

Here is a brief explanation of both:
Federal Home Confinement and Supervised Release are two different forms of post-sentencing supervision for individuals who have been convicted of federal crimes. Here’s an overview of each:

1.      Federal Home Confinement: Federal Home Confinement, also known as “home detention” or “home confinement,” is a form of supervised release that allows individuals to serve part, or all, of their sentence at their residence instead of being incarcerated in a correctional facility. It is typically considered as an alternative to imprisonment for non-violent offenders or individuals who pose a low risk to the community.
While on federal home confinement, individuals are required to comply with strict conditions and guidelines set by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the U.S. Probation Office. Some common conditions include:
· Electronic Monitoring: The individual may be required to wear an electronic monitoring device, such as an ankle bracelet, to track their location and ensure compliance with the terms of home confinement. Some districts use dedicated cell phones for tracking and verification. A few might still require a landline but this is becoming less frequently used.
· Restricted Movement: They may be restricted to their approved residence and permitted to leave only for pre-approved activities such as work, medical appointments, religious services or other essential tasks. One will also likely get up to one hour for outdoor physical activity or a workout.
· Curfew: A specific curfew may be imposed, requiring the individual to be at their residence during certain hours.
· Supervision: Regular check-ins with a probation officer or assigned case manager may be required to monitor compliance and address any issues that may arise.

2.      Supervised Release: Supervised Release is a period of post-incarceration supervision that follows the completion of a federal prison sentence. It is similar to parole in the state system but is applicable to federal offenders. During supervised release, individuals are released from prison but remain under the supervision of a probation officer and are required to follow certain conditions.
The specific conditions of supervised release can vary depending on the individual’s offense, the judgment of the court, and the recommendations of the U.S. Probation Office. Some common conditions may include:
· Regular Reporting: The individual is required to meet with their probation officer at scheduled intervals to discuss their progress, address any issues, and receive guidance.
· Drug Testing: Random drug testing may be conducted to ensure compliance with substance abuse restrictions.
· Employment or Education: Individuals may be required to maintain gainful employment or participate in educational programs.
· Prohibited Activities: Specific activities, associations, or locations may be prohibited, depending on the circumstances of the offense.
Travel: Travel, both foreign and domestic is usually permitted with prior approval. Each situation is unique and should be well planned prior to requesting permission from either your probation officer, or if needed, your judge.
Early Termination: Supervised release may be terminated early with judicial approval. Each case is unique and requires the proper planning and resources prior to requesting this from your judge.

The goal of both Federal Home Confinement and Supervised Release is to provide individuals with an opportunity to reintegrate into society while ensuring public safety and compliance with the terms of their release. The conditions and requirements imposed during these periods of supervision are intended to promote rehabilitation, address any potential risks, and support successful reentry into the community.

Please call me if you have any questions or concerns about either of these topics.

Member: American Bar Association