Conditions of Release

Last Updated May, 2010

Legislation should provide specific direction to law enforcement officials about the conditions of release for violent offenders who have been arrested for violating an order for protection or for an act of domestic violence.  See: the Code of Criminal Process (2007) of Portugal, which reinforces the prohibition on the offender to contact certain offenders in any way.

Police and judicial officials must make determinations about victim safety, including the threat that the violent offender presents to the complainant/survivor, her family, and her associates, and must place conditions upon the release of the offender that reflect these concerns.  See the section on Lethality and risk assessments.

See: Family Violence:  A Model State Code, Sec 208.

Promising practice:  Some US states require that certain violent offenders who may be likely to re-offend wear a satellite tracking device so that if they enter certain prohibited zones, such as the areas surrounding the survivor’s home, workplace, or daycare, an alarm is triggered to warn police and the survivor. Advocates report that when an offender knows that they are being monitored and the consequences are swift, homicides related to domestic abuse drop.  GPS devices cost about $25 USD per day per offender, compared to $75 USD to keep an offender in jail. 

For example, the Act Further Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence (2006) of Massachusetts, USA (hereinafter the law of Massachusetts) states:

“Where a defendant has been found in violation of an abuse prevention order under this chapter or a protection order issued by another jurisdiction, the court may, in addition to the penalties provided for in this section after conviction, as an alternative to incarceration and, as a condition of probation, prohibit contact with the victim through the establishment of court defined geographic exclusion zones including, but not limited to, the areas in and around the complainant’s residence, place of employment, and the complainant’s child’s school, and order that the defendant to wear a global positioning satellite tracking device designed to transmit and record the defendant’s location data.  If the defendant enters a court defined exclusion zone, the defendant’s location data shall be immediately transmitted to the complainant, and to the police, through an appropriate means including, but not limited to, the telephone, an electronic beeper or a paging device.  The global positioning satellite device and its tracking shall be administered by the department of probation.  If a court finds that the defendant has entered a geographic exclusion zone, it shall revoke his probation and the defendant shall be fined, imprisoned or both as provided in this section.  Based on the defendant’s ability to pay, the court may also order him to pay the monthly costs or portion thereof for monitoring through the global positioning satellite tracking system.” Ch. 418, Sect. 7

See:  Illinois, USA, Code of Criminal Procedure, Sec. 110-5.

The Criminal Code of Portugal (2007) also provides for technical monitoring of offenders.