Alternatives to Incarceration in Pennsylvania: House Arrest Options
The importance of sound legal counsel at every stage of criminal proceedings is hard to underestimate. Most people who find themselves charged with or suspected of committing a crime realize the wisdom of enlisting an attorney to review the evidence, appear at an arraignment and protect their rights at trial, if necessary. But a lawyer also provides dedicated advocacy for a client in the aftermath of a guilty plea or verdict.
Depending on which Pennsylvania jurisdiction hears a criminal case and the severity of the crime involved, defendants may have options for serving time under house arrest and avoiding the harshest consequences of a conviction. By identifying such options and discussing them with the prosecution early on, a criminal defense lawyer can target strategies for keeping a client out of jail or prison, or obtaining an early release.
House Arrest in Bucks County
In Bucks County, house arrest is frequently employed to limit an offender’s freedom of movement by using either passive or active electronic monitoring. Passive monitoring depends on voice verification via random computer-generated telephone calls to the person’s home. Currently, the offender must have a Verizon land line for telephone service to participate in this method of house arrest. Active electronic monitoring involves installation of a transmitter that communicates with a fixed ankle bracelet to constantly verify a person’s location.
House Arrest in Chester County
The Chester County Adult Probation and Parole Department also administers an electronic home monitoring program as a condition of probation, parole or intermediate punishment. The program structures and monitors the defendant’s activity by establishing an electronically enforced curfew to curtail unauthorized movement in the community. This program is backed by a twenty-four hour on-call service that allows citizens to report violations.
House Arrest in Montgomery County
Montgomery County is one area of suburban Philadelphia that is not as amenable to home detention, but options do exist. The County Intermediate Punishment Unit maintains forms of alternative supervision for people who qualify based on special circumstances, including rehabilitative options for people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and teaming with mental health professionals to assess options for mentally ill offenders. House arrest using electronic monitoring may also be available for short-term sentences, as well as those deemed eligible for a last chance rehabilitative approach.
In almost all cases, violations of house arrest and other monitoring will cause the offender’s immediate removal to a county correctional facility.
A Lawyer Can Explain Eligibility as Part of a Comprehensive Criminal Defense Strategy
Alternatives to incarceration make a great deal of sense for counties that are facing perpetual budget challenges and limits on law enforcement resources. Pennsylvania is among many states that have realized that it is not cost-effective – nor does it serve society – to keep non-violent offenders perpetually locked up at state expense. But the processes that govern alternatives to incarceration are complex, and a variety of factors go into every decision. By consulting with an attorney who has local knowledge of court procedures throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, a suspect or named defendant can act immediately to explore a range of options for protecting their rights and liberty.