Execution of sentence with electronic monitoring in Norway
Since September 2008 there has been a pilot project on execution of sentences using electronic monitoring (EM) in six Norwegian counties. This form of execution of sentence is a form of home detention under certain conditions, where a tag is attached to the offender’s ankle which reports his or hers geographical position. Execution of a sentence using EM is meant to be an alternative to serving time in prison, and who is found eligible is an administrative decision by the prison authorities. Persons who are sentenced to less than four months in prison can apply for EM. A second group who can apply is those who have served a long sentence and have less than four months left, and these can serve the remaining time with EM. One main purpose of EM in Norway is to avoid that the offenders loose contact with the labour market and the society at large. This report describes some Norwegian experiences with this form of execution of a sentence.
The first part of the report describes who get to serve their sentence with EM, compared to those who serve a short sentence in prison. These groups are compared on a number of socioeconomic variables. This part of the analysis shed light on social inequality in execution of sentences. We show that those who serve time with EM is generally better off on a number of characteristics. They have higher educational level, larger proportion was employed before the sentence, lower proportion on social benefits, and they have higher average incomes from work. Nevertheless, those who serve time with EM are not a particularly privileged group, and only about half were employed prior to serving their sentence.
The second part of the report describes changes in employment situation on a monthly basis from 24 months before serving their sentence until 24 months after. This analysis focuses only on those who serve their entire sentence with EM, which is the majority. The outcome is compared with a matched comparison group of offenders who serve their time in prison. It is shown that there are very little changes in the employment rate among those who serve time with EM. As a main purpose of EM is to prevent the convicts of dropping out of the labour market, this indicates that this goal is achieved. However, this applies to a large extent to the comparison group as well, although they have a somewhat reduction in employment rates, which is temporary. Neither are there much changes in the proportion receiving social benefits among those who serve time with EM, while there is a somewhat increase after having served their sentence in the comparison group. In conclusion, those who serve time with EM do not seem to get noticeable increased problems on the labour market after execution of the sentence, and it is possible that EK has up to a moderate positive effect compared to a matched comparison group.