Electronic Monitoring Is Not the Only Problem Here

The Challenges of House Arrest Application Practice in the Czech Republic





Sentencing, Alternative Sanctions, House Arrest, Electronic Monitoring, Application Practice, Criminal Law, Czech Jurisdiction


Over the past 25 years, few alternative sanctions have received as much attention as electronically monitored house arrest. In the view of relatively dynamic development of electronic surveillance technologies and related ethical and legal issues at stake, this interest continues to this day. In the Czech Republic, electronically monitored house arrest was introduced in 2010. Somewhat oddly, the electronic surveillance system had not been implemented at the time. Yet, legislators and sanctions policy makers placed high hopes in this form of punishment. In particular, it was expected to significantly help combat the relentless hypertrophy of the prison population. But the expectations of sanction policy makers were not met due to the reluctance of the courts to impose house arrest. This had remained unchanged over the years, and opinions had begun to emerge that the state's failure to introduce electronic monitoring was primarily to blame. In 2019, electronic monitoring was eventually implemented, but the number of sentences imposed still did not increase. If the legislature's sanctions policy is not translated into practice, its aims cannot be achieved. For this to happen, it is essential that house arrest becomes more prevalent in the structure of sentences imposed. Increased application rates will not happen spontaneously; certain steps need to be taken to address the reasons for the current state of affairs and to mitigate factors that negatively affect application practice. For this purpose, such causes and negative factors must first be identified. This paper therefore examines the importance of electronic monitoring in terms of the application practice of house arrest in the Czech Republic, and the main reasons for not imposing house arrest. Building on these findings, it offers suggestions that would contribute to more frequent imposition of house arrest in appropriate cases.

Author Biography

Ivo Polanský, University of Finance and Administration

Estonská 500,
101 00 Praha 10-Vršovice
Czech Republic
as well as PhD. Student at
Pan-European University, Faculty of Law
Tomášikova 20, P.O.BOX 12
820 09 Bratislava
Slovak Republic


Austin, J., Dedel Johnson, K. and Weitzer, R. J. (2005). Alternatives to the secure detention and confinement of juvenile offenders. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Available at: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/208804.pdf (accessed on 20.04.2024). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/e481492006-001

Ball, R. A., Huff, R. C. and Lilly, R. J. (1988). House Arrest and Correctional Policy: Doing Time at Home. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publication. ISBN 978-08-0392-969-2.

Bartels, L. and Martinovic, M. (2017). Electronic monitoring: The experience in Australia. European Journal of Probation, 9(1), 80-102, https://doi.org/10.1177/2066220317697658 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2066220317697658

Beyens, K. and Roosen, M. (2013). Electronic Monitoring in Belgium: A Penological Analysis of Current and Future Orientations. European Journal of Probation, 5(3), 56-70, https://doi.org/10.1177/20662203130050030 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/206622031300500305

Beyens, K. and Roosen, M. (2017). Electronic monitoring and reintegration in Belgium. European Journal of Probation, 9(1), 11-27, https://doi.org/10.1177/2066220317704132 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2066220317704132

Bishop, N. (1995). Intensive supervision with electronic monitoring: A Swedish alternative to imprisonment. Council of Europe Penological Information Bulletin, 19/20, 3–10. ISSN 0254-5225.

Black, M. and Smith, R. G. (2003). Electronic monitoring and the criminal justice system. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, 2003, 254, 1–6. Available at: https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi254 (accessed on 20.04.2024).

Blanda, R. (2010) Odstraní elektronické náramky přeplněnost českých věznic? [Will electronic bracelets solve overcrowding in Czech prisons?]. České vězeňství [Journal of Czech Prison Administration], 1, 16–17. ISSN 1213-9297.

Brown, M. P. and Elrod, P. (1995). Electronic house arrest: An examination of citizen attitudes. Crime & Delinquency, 41(3), 332–346. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0011128795041003004 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128795041003004

Burell, W. and Gable, R. (2008). From B. F. Skinner to Spiderman to Martha Stewart: The past, present, and future of electronic monitoring of offenders. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 46 (3/4), 101–108, https://doi.org/10.1080/10509670802143342 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10509670802143342

Čádová, J. (2010). Nové alternativní tresty a trendy [New alternative punishments and tendencies]. In: Štern, P., L. Ouředníčková and D. Doubravová (eds.), Probace a mediace: Možnosti řešení trestných činů [Probation and mediation: alternatives for solving crimes] (pp. 149-172). Praha: Portál. ISBN 978-80-7367-757-2.

Daniška, G. and Strémy, T. (2022). Aplikácia alternatívnych trestvo v podmienkach Slovenskej republiky [Practice of Alternative Sentencing in the Slovak Republic]. In: Strémy, T. and Burský, S. (eds.), Aplikácia alternatývných prístupov v justícii na Slovensku II [Application practice of alternative sanction and measures in Slovak Republic II] (pp. 44-60). Bratislava: Právnická fakulta Univerzity Komenského v Bratislave. ISBN 978-80-7160-646-8.

Decaigny, T. (2014). Nieuwe correctionele hoofdstraffen: de straf onder elektronisch toezicht en de autonome probatiestraf [New correctional sanctions: the electronically supervised sentence and the autonomous probation sentence]. Tijdschrift voor Strafrecht, 15(4), 211–225. ISSN 1379-4930.

DeMichele, M. (2014). Electronic monitoring: It is a tool, not a silver bullet. Criminology and Public Policy, 13(3), 393–400, https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9133.12089 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9133.12089

Diblíková et al. (2017). Analýza trendů kriminality v České republice v roce 2016 [Analysis of crime statistics in the Czech Republic in 2016]. Praha: Institut pro kriminologii a sociální prevenci. ISBN 978-80-7338-170-7.

Diblíková, S., Špejra M. and Vlach, J. (2021). Vyhodnocení procesu spuštění elektronického monitorovacího systému v ČR [Evaluation of the process of implementation of the electronic monitoring system in the Czech Republic]. Praha: Institut pro kriminologii a sociální prevenci, ISBN 978-80-7338-195-0.

Dünkel, F. (2018). Electronic Monitoring in Europe–a Panacea for Reforming Criminal Sanctions Systems? A Critical Review. Kriminologijos studijos, 6, 58–77, https://doi.org/10.15388/CrimLithuan.2018.6.3 DOI: https://doi.org/10.15388/CrimLithuan.2018.6.3

Dünkel, F., Thiele, G. and Treig, J. (2017). Elektronische Überwachung von Straffälligen im europäischen Vergleich-Zusazemennfassender Vrgleich und Perspektiven für die Kriminalpolitik. In: Dünkel, F., Thiele, G. and Treig, J. (eds.), Elektronische Überwachung von Straffälligen im europäischen Vergleich – Bestandsaufnahme und Perspektiven, (pp. 475-540). Mönchengladbach: Forum Vlg Godesberg. ISBN 978-3-942865-78-4.

Gainey, R. R. and Payne, B. K. (2000). Understanding the Experience of House Arrest with Electronic Monitoring: An Analysis of Quantitative and Qualitative Data. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 44(1), 84–96, https://doi.org/10.1177/0306624X00441008 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0306624X00441008

Gibbs, A and King, D. (2003). Home detention with electronic monitoring: The New Zealand experience. Criminal Justice, 3(2), 199–211, https://doi.org/10.1177/1466802503003002 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1466802503003002004

Graham, H. and McIvor, G. (2015). Scottish and international review of the uses of electronic monitoring. Stirling: SCCJR. Available at: https://www.sccjr.ac.uk/publication/scottish-and-international-review-of-the-uses-of-electronic-monitoring/ (accessed on 20.04.2024).

Graham, H. and McIvor, G. (2017). Advancing electronic monitoring in Scotland: Understanding the influences of localism and professional ideologies. European Journal of Probation, 9(1), 62–79, https://doi.org/10.1177/2066220317697659 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2066220317697659

Haiskanen, M., Aebi, M. F., Brugge, A. and Jehle, J. (2014). Recording Community Sanctions and Measures and Assessing Attrition. A Methodological Study on Comparative Data in Europe. Helsinky: Hakapaino Oy. ISBN 978-952-5333-91-6.

Haverkamp, R. (2002). Elektronisch überwachter Hausarrestvollzug: ein Zukunftsmodell für den Anstaltsvollzug?: eine rechtsvergleichende, empirische Studie unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Rechtslage in Schweden. Deutschland: Edition iuscrim. ISBN 9783861130529.

Hofer, P. J. and Meierhoefer, B. S. (1987). Home confinement: An evolving sanction in the federal criminal justice system. Washington, D.C.: Federal Judicial Center. Available at: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/108466NCJRS.pdf (accessed on 20.04.2024).

Hucklesby, A., Beyens, K. and Boone, M. (2021). Comparing electronic monitoring regimes: length, breadth, depth, weight equals tightness. Punishment & Society, 23(1), 88–106, https://doi.org/10.1177/1462474520915753 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1462474520915753

Hurwitz, J. N. (1987). House Arrest: A Critical Analysis of an Intermediate-Level Penal Sanction. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 135, 771–811. Available at: https://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3954&context=penn_law_review (accessed on 20.04.2024). DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3312081

Jelínek, J. (2009). Pojem trestného činu a kategorizace trestných činů [Definition of crime and categories of crimes]. Bulletin advokacie [The bulletin of the Czech Bar Association], 9, 36–41. ISBN 1210-6348.

Jelínek, J. (2018). Dokazování z hlediska budoucí právní úpravy českého trestního řádu [Taking of evidence from the point of view of the future legal framework of the Czech Criminal Procedure Code]. In: Jelínek, J. (ed.), Dokazování v trestním řízení v kontextu práva na spravedlivý proces [Taking of evidence in criminal proceedings in the context of the right to a fair trial] (pp. 13-26). Praha: Leges. ISBN 978-80-7502-287-5.

Kalvodová, V. (2007). Domácí vězení - jedna z možných alternativ odnětí svobody? [House arrest - one of the possible alternatives to imprisonment?] In: Days of Public Law (pp. 678-684). Brno: Masarykova univerzita. ISBN 978-80-210-4430-2.

Kalvodová, V. (2022). Systém trestů - český pohled [Penalty system - Czech perspective]. In: Gřivna, T., Jiří Mulák et al. (eds.), Symbióza trestního práva a kriminologie - k odkazu prof. Oto Novotného [Symbiosis of criminal law and criminology - to the heritage of Prof. Oto Novotný] (pp. 57-73). Praha: Wolters Kluwer. ISBN 978-80-7676-639-6.

Krahl, M. (1998). Elektronicky hlídané domácí vězení [Electronically monitored house arrest ]. Právní rozhledy [Law Reports], 5, 229–233. ISSN 1210-6410.

Lilly, R. J. and Nellis, M. (2012). The limits of techno-utopianism: electronic monitoring in the United States of America. In: Nellis, M., Beyens, K. and Kaminski, D. (eds.), Electronically monitored punishment: International and critical perspectives (pp. 18-41). London: Willan, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203103029

Maxfield, M. G., and Baumer, T. L. (1990). Home detention with electronic monitoring: Comparing pretrial and postconviction programs. Crime & Delinquency, 36(4), 521–536, https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128790036004 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128790036004006

Ministry for Regional Development of the Czech Republic (2023). Dodavatel elektronického monitorovacího systému pro trestní justici II. [Supply of electronic monitoring system for criminal justice II] Ministerstvo pro místní rozvoj. Available at: https://nen.nipez.cz/verejne-zakazky/detail-zakazky/N006-22-V00034083/zadavaci-dokumentace/p:peu:page=1;pzd:page=2 (accessed on 18.04.2024).

Nellis, M. (2006). Electronically Monitoring Offenders in Scotland, 1998-2006. The Scottish Journal of Criminal Justice Studies,12, 74–96.

Nellis, M. and Bungerfeldt, J. (2013). Electronic monitoring and probation in Sweden and England and Wales: Comparative policy developments. Probation Journal, 60(3), 278–301, https://doi.org/10.1177/0264550513504530 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0264550513504530

Nellis, M. (2015) Standards and Ethics in Electronic Monitoring: Handbook for Professionals Responsible for the Establishment and the Use of Electronic Monitoring. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Available at: https://rm.coe.int/handbook-standards-ethics-in-electronic-monitoring-eng/16806ab9b0 (accessed on 19.04.2024).

Novák, P. (2021). Trestní příkaz [Criminal order]. Praha: Leges. ISBN 978-80-7502-495-4.

Paterson, C. (2015). From offender to victim-oriented monitoring: a comparative analysis of the emergence of electronic monitoring systems in Argentina and England and Wales. Urbe Revista Brasileira de Gestão Urbana, 7(2), 155–166, https://doi.org/10.1590/2175-3369.007.002.SE01 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1590/2175-3369.007.002.SE01

Payne, B. K. (2014). It's a Small World, but I Wouldn't Want to Paint it: Learning from Denmark's Experience with Electronic Monitoring. Criminology and Public Policy, 13(3), 381–393, https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9133.12090 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9133.12090

Petersilia, J. (1986). Exploring the option of house arrest. Federal Probation, 50, 771–812.

Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic (2021). Tiskové prohlášení k Elektronickému monitorovacímu systému. Probační a Mediační Služba [Press release on the Electronic Monitoring System. Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic]. Available at: https://www.pmscr.cz/probacni-a-mediacni-sluzba-ukoncila-spolupraci-s-firmou-supercom/ (accessed on 19.04.2024).

Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic (2022). Probační a mediační služba hledá nového dodavatele elektronického monitorovacího systému. Probační a Mediační Služba [The Probation and Mediation Service is looking for a new supplier of an electronic monitoring system. Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic]. Available at: https://www.pmscr.cz/probacni-a-mediacni-sluzba-hleda-noveho-dodavatele-elektronickeho-monitorovaciho-systemu/ (accessed on 19.04.2024).

Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic (2023). Agendy Probační a mediační služby v letech 2018–2022 [Probation and Mediation Service Statistics 2018-2022]. Praha: Probační a mediační služba. Available at: https://www.pmscr.cz/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/statistiky_agendy_pms_2018-2022.pdf (accessed on 19.04.2024).

Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic (2023a). Informace o stavu implementace a zahájení ostrého provozu nového elektronického monitorovacího systému pro trestní justice II. Probační a Mediační Služba [Information on the status of implementation and start of operating the new electronic monitoring system for criminal justice II. Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic ]. Available at: https://www.pmscr.cz/informace-o-stavu-implementace-a-zahajeni-ostreho-provozu-noveho-elektronickeho-monitorovaciho-systemu-pro-trestni-justice-ii/ (accessed on 19.04.2024).

Rajnič, M. (2009). Trest domáceho väzenia v systéme trestov [The sentence of house arrest in the penal system Justičná revue [The Judicial Review journal], 61, 834–840. ISSN 13356461.

Rodrigues, A. M., Antunes, M. J., Fidalgo, S, Pinto, H. I. and Ishiy, T. (2022). Non-custodial sanctions and measures in the member states of the European Union: comparative report. Instituto Jurídico da Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Coimbra. Available at: https://cdn.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Comparative-Study-eBook-English.pdf (accessed on 22.06.2024).

Rozum, J., Háková L, Hulmáková, J., Špejra, M and Zhřívalová, P. (2020). Zprávy PMS pro účely rozhodnutí v trestním řízení: kvalita, význam, efektivita [PMS reports for sentencing purposes: quality, relevance, effectiveness]. Praha: Institut pro kriminologii a sociální prevenci. ISBN 978-80-7338-188-2.

Scheinost, M.; Háková, L., Rozum, J., Tomášek, J. and Vlach, J. (2014). Sankční politika pohledem praxe [Sanctions policy from a practical perspective]. Praha: Institut pro kriminologii a sociální prevenci. ISBN 978-80-7338-144-8.

Scheinost, M. Válková, H. et al. (2015). Sankční politika a její uplatňování [Sanctions policy and its practical application]. Praha: Institut pro kriminologii a sociální prevenci. ISBN 978-80-7338-154-7.

Scheinost et al. (2020). Analýza trendů kriminality v České republice v roce 2019 [Analysis of crime statistics in the Czech Republic in 2019]. Praha: Institut pro kriminologii a sociální prevenci. ISBN 978-80-7338-187-5.

Smith, R. G. and Gibbs, A. (2012). Extending the electronic net in Australia and New Zealand: Developments in electronic monitoring down under. In: Nellis, M., Beyens, K. and Kaminski, D. (eds.), Electronically monitored punishment: International and critical perspectives (pp. 79-99). London: Willan, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203103029

Strémy, T. (2014). Aplikácia trestu domáceho väzenia na Slovensku, v Čechách a v Poľsku [The application of house arrest sentence in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland]. Policajná teória a prax [Journal of police theory and practice], 1, 97–106. Available at: https://www.akademiapz.sk/sites/default/files/OVVP/PTP/2014/1/01%20Obsah_PTP%201_2014.pdf (accessed on 20.04.2024).

Strémy, T. and Klátik, J. (2018). Alternatívne tresty [Alternative sanctions]. Bratislava: C. H. Beck. ISBN 987-80-89603-56-5.

Šámal, P. (2009). K pojmu trestného činu a souvisejícím otázkám v novém trestním zákoníku [On the concept of crime and related issues in the new Criminal Code]. Trestněprávní revue [Journal of Criminal Law Review], 5, 129–140. ISSN 1213-5313.

Ščerba, F. (2012). Trest domácího vězení po novele č. 330/2011 Sb. [The sentence of house arrest after Amendment No. 330/2011 Coll.]. Trestněprávní revue [Journal of Criminal Law Review], 11(5), 1–5. ISSN 1213-5313.

Ščerba, F. (2013). Ukládání trestněprávních sankcí (trestání dospělých) [Sentencing in criminal procedure (the imposition of sentences on adult offenders)]. In: Jelínek, J. et al. (ed.), Trestní právo hmotné [Substantive Criminal Law] (pp. 427-476). Praha: Leges. ISBN 978-80-87576-64-9.

Ščerba, F. (2014). Alternativní tresty a opatření v nové právní úpravě [Alternative sanctions and measures in the new legal framework]. Praha: Leges. ISBN 978-80-87576-93-9.

Ščerba, F. (2014a). Tresty alternativní a nepodmíněné: pohled akademika [Alternative sanctions and imprisonment: an academic's perspective]. Státní zastupitelství [Journal of State Prosecution], 12(1), 8–10. ISSN 1214-3758.

Ščerba, F. (2020). § 60. In: Ščerba, F. et al. (ed.), Trestní zákoník: Komentář. [The Criminal Code: Commentary]. Praha: C. H. Beck. ISBN 978-80-7400-807-8.

Ščerba, F. (2023). Využitelnost dohody o vině a trestu a prohlášení viny v jednotlivých stadiích trestního řízení [Usability of plea bargains and guilty pleas at different stages of criminal proceedings]. Universitatis Carolinae Iuridica, 69(3), 115–129, https://doi.org/10.14712/23366478.2023.31 DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/23366478.2023.31

The Prison and Mediation Service (2023). KOS 2023. Kriminalvård och statistic 2023, ISSN 1400-2167. Available at: https://www.kriminalvarden.se/globalassets/forskning_statistik/kos-2023---kriminalvard-och-statistik.pdf (accessed on 19.04.2024).

Tlapák-Navrátilovál, J. (2019). Trest domácího vězení, promarněná šance? [The house arrest sentence, a missed opportunity?] In: Jelínek, J. et al. (ed.), Deset let od přijetí českého trestního zákoníku [A decade since the implementation of the Czech Criminal Code] (pp. 224-236). Praha: Leges. ISBN 978-80-7502-354-4.

Tlapák-Navrátilová, J. (2022). Elektronický monitoring a jeho nevyužitý potenciál [Electronic monitoring and its under-used potential]. In: Gřivna, T., M. Richter and H. Šimánová (eds.), Vliv nových technologií na trestní právo [The impact of new technologies on criminal law] (pp. 227-238). Praha: Auditorium. ISBN 978-80-87284-95-7.

Tóthová, V. (2019). Absencia kriminologických výskumov pri kreování trestnej politiky štátu s akcentom na trest domáceho väzenia [The Absence of criminological research in the formulation of state penal policy with an emphasis on the punishment of house arrest]. STUDIA IURIDICA Cassoviensia, 7(2), 84–93. ISSN 1339-3995. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33542/SIC2019-2-08

Válková, H. and Půry, F. (2023). Trest domácího vězení [The house arrest sentence]. In: Šámal, P. et al. (ed.), Trestní zákoník. Komentář [The Criminal Code: Commentary] (pp. 1105-1122). Praha: C. H. Beck. ISBN 978-80-7400-893-1.

Wennerberg, I. and Holmberg, S. (2007). Extended use of electronic tagging in Sweden-The offenders´ and the victims´ view. Stockholm: Brottsförebyggande rådet. ISBN 978-91-85664-55-9.

Wennerberg, I. (2012). High level of support and high level of control: An efficient Swedish model of electronic monitoring? In: Nellis, M., Beyens, K. and Kaminski, D. (eds.), Electronically monitored punishment: International and critical perspectives (pp. 92-107). London: Willan, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203103029 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203103029




How to Cite

Polanský, I. (2024). Electronic Monitoring Is Not the Only Problem Here: The Challenges of House Arrest Application Practice in the Czech Republic. Bratislava Law Review, 8(1), 129–152. https://doi.org/10.46282/blr.2024.8.1.860