Duma passes bill allowing house arrest

Police will be able to place suspects under house arrest rather than in a detention center under a bill that cleared the State Duma in a third and final reading last week. The bill, which aims to reduce notorious overcrowding in the prison system, would allow suspects implicated in minor offences to be placed under house arrest for two to four months. Courts would also be allowed to order defendants to serve time at home as part of their sentences under the bill. The new probation period could be tacked onto prison sentences and amount to six months to two years.

People under house arrest would not be able to leave their homes at certain hours, leave their hometown, attend or participate in mass public events, or change residence, workplace or school without special permission from an oversight body. They would also be required to check in regularly with the authorities.Earlier this year, the authorities started testing electronic bracelets to control the movements of convicts on probation.

The bill now must be approved by the Federation Council before going to President Dmitry Medvedev to be signed into law.

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