Judges in Wake County, North Carolina, have begun sentencing men who fail to pay child support to house arrest so they can continue to work and earn money.
The men wear electronic tags and can only leave their homes to go to work and for medical issues. If they do so for any other reasons, they are sent to jail.
Rich Morrison of Wake Electronic Monitoring, which administers the scheme, said the house arrest programme allows the men to earn money in order to pay off their debts rather than simply sitting in a jail cell.
“It gives a person focus. A person actually wants to get off this.”
Local man Shawn Battle was taken into custody earlier this year for failing to pay child support. He owes $9,000 but is now taking part in the house arrest programme. He said:
“It’s working, it’s good…at least here you can do what you got to do. Up there [in jail], you can’t do anything, you just sit there and do your time.”
He is working in a college cafeteria and plans to attend culinary school.
“I’m trying to change for the better because I want my kids back in my house. I really do.”