Oct 19, 2009

Email Alert

My WIP is about a high school student under house arrest. I'm very much hoping that because of your major you may have useful information on the matter. Your help is very much appreciated.

So, I got this question in my mailbox today and decided I'd post the answer on here since it might be useful to someone else as well. First off, if your novel is a thriller, I'd suggest watching the movie Disturbia.

Let's take it from the top. Your MC will more than likely go through the stages of an arrest and preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is an appearance before a "disinterested person," and the facts of a probation violation or arrest are presented, and it is determined whether probable cause for revoking probation exists. (If your MC was on probation. Unfortunately, I don't know the backstory.) During a revocation hearing, the probation agency presents evidence to support its claim of violation, and the probationer can attempt to refute this evidence. Then, sentencing occurs--the presiding body rules against the probationer. The judge must then decide whether to impose incarceration and for what length of time.

This is where home incarceration comes into play. It's a community-based sanction in which offenders serve their terms of incarceration in their homes. Only low-risk offenders are eligable for this, so make sure your MC didn't do anything too bad or else it won't make sense! Sometimes there's something called Shock incarceration, but you don't need to know that.  Home incarceration requires the offender to remain in the home at all times, save for medical emergencies. Programmed contact a type of electronic monitoring system that consists of an offender being contacted periodically by telephone or beeper. (We hardly use this system nowadays.)

Listen carefully here because this is one of the most important things you will need to know, and I suggest researching it because I'm not going to go into it extensively when the information is easily found on the web.

Okay, lastly, you should know about "continuous signaling" because your MC will be wearing one of these. It's an electronic device that the offender must wear around the wrist, ankle, or neck, which sends out a continuous signal to the authorities. 

That's all fine and well if your MC is and adult. If you're writing YA then your MC wouldn't be under home incarceration. He or she would be under home detention. It's a sort of lesser level of home monitoring that requires the person to remain at home all times--with the exceptions being school, job, counseling, or other specified activities such as grocery shopping or religious stuff. 

Right below home confinement is curfew. It's the lowest level of home monitoring that requires offenders to be in their homes at specific hours (usually at night).

Phew! That was a lot to write, but if it helps some others then it's all good. If anyone else has questions, feel free to email me.


Anonymous said...

your soon-to-be job scares me.