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Criminal justice students homework – house arrest

Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

EUREKA – A classroom debate over just how tough house arrest is has prompted a criminal justice professor at a central Illinois college to come up with what is a punishing assignment.

Eureka College professor William Lally is offering willing students the chance to wear GPS ankle bracelets for a weekend during which they are not allowed to stray more than 100 feet from their homes.

Some are finding that home confinement is harder than they thought.

“It was kind of depressing being in my room by myself,” said sophomore David Flores of Joliet. “I might as well be in a prison cell.”

One or two students have signed up each weekend this semester to have the GPS monitors locked to their ankles Friday afternoon, The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reported.

Their home confinement lasts 60 hours from Friday night until their next class at 10 a.m. Monday.

During that time, the students are also barred from drinking alcohol and have to agree to surprise visits from their teacher and police with a portable breath monitor.

Violations result in a drop of two letter grades on their assigned paper.

So far, only one student has been caught breaking the rules.

The idea grew out of a class discussion in which a student said he’d rather take home confinement over prison time, said Lally, who spent two decades in law enforcement and was once police chief in Farmington.

“They understand it’s a learning experience because a lot of these guys want to go into this line of work,” Lally said.

Students said the tough assignment has an important payoff.

Senior D.T. Thornton of Bloomington, who hopes to become a probation officer, said the assignment was useful because he will be able to say to offenders, “I know how it feels because I went through it.”

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