A sentence of incarceration is traditionally served in the county jail or a state prison. With jails and prisons overcrowded, the need for alternative sentencing has increased and various forms of home confinement have become more popular in California.
What Is Home Confinement?
“Home confinement” is a broad term that encompasses a variety of programs. All home confinement programs confine an offender, however, an offender is not necessarily required to be at home at all times. Confined offenders are monitored through an electronic system, but may leave for work or school, to visit a doctor or attend court.
Eligibility Through a Plea Agreement
One route to a home confinement sentence is through a plea agreement reached as a result of negotiations between your attorney and the prosecuting attorney. The judge will have to approve the agreement and all technical requirements still have to be met.
Eligibility by Application
You may also apply to the Sheriff’s Department once you are incarcerated in the county jail. Eligibility requirements will vary but may include:
- No history of violence
- Non-violent offense
- No victim or victim consent
- Minimum to medium risk offender
- The judge cannot have precluded home confinement when you were sentenced
- Permanent residence
- Telephone line
Home Confinement Technologies
There are a number of home confinement technologies currently available. Some common example include:
- Ankle bracelet – The ankle bracelet is the oldest and most restrictive form of home confinement. The way it works is an ankle bracelet that communicates with a home base unit is fitted to your ankle.
- Global Positioning System (GPS) – More sophisticated than the traditional ankle bracelet, a GPS-based ankle bracelet offers more freedom and operates without a home base unit like the GPS in a vehicle or a mobile phone. The GPS lets the authorities know where you are at all times and may include “exclusion zones.”
- Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) – Not technically a confinement system, this is a special ankle bracelet used to detect alcohol. While this device does not monitor your whereabouts, it can be used in DUI cases or where alcohol use is a problem.
Home Confinement Rules and Violations
Rules associated with a home confinement program are often tailored to the offense and/or circumstances but may include:
- Alcohol/drug testing
- Regular check-ins
- Payment of fees
- No contact with victim
Home confinement is a privilege, not a right. If you violate the rules of a home confinement program you will likely be required to complete the remainder of your sentence in jail or prison. If you are concerned about a possible violation, consult with an attorney immediately.