If you are facing criminal charges and the likelihood of a prison sentence, the judge or magistrate presiding over your case has, in some cases, the power to allow you serve your sentence at home rather than in jail. Instead of a full time custodial sentence, you may be given either a home detention order, or an intensive correction order. These orders can be difficult to obtain, and there are a number of differences between home detention orders and intensive correction orders.
Both types of orders allow you to remain at home for the duration of your sentence, and are seen as desirable alternatives to full time custody. The benefits of being at home rather than in jail include having the support of your family, the comfort of living at home rather than in a prison, and privacy. If you are under an intensive correction order, you will also be able to participate in certain supervised activities in the community, mainly employment, which can reduce the financial disadvantages to you and your family during your sentence.
What is a home detention order?
A home detention order is an order which can be given by the judge or magistrate if you have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment. A home detention order allows you to serve all or part of your sentence at home, rather than in full time custody. If you are issued with a home detention order, you will be required to abide by specific conditions, otherwise you risk having it revoked and serving out the remainder of your sentence in jail.
When you are under a home detention order, you will be required to submit to electronic monitoring, and you may also have to undergo periodic home inspections, and searches of your premises and any computer equipment you use. You will be closely supervised by a parole officer, who will monitor your compliance with the conditions of your home detention order.
What is an intensive correction order?
An intensive correction order (ICO) is also given as an alternative to a custodial sentence. Intensive correction orders are relatively new, and were introduced in 2010 to replace the previous penalty of periodic detention. While under an intensive correction order, you will be required to live at a nominated address, submit to monitoring, and abide by certain rules, including a curfew. Under an intensive correction order, you will be able to leave the house under certain conditions such as employment, although you will be closely monitored. The level of monitoring decreases as you progress through your sentence.
There are a number of compulsory conditions which come with an ICO, including participating in 32 hours of community service work each week and taking steps to address any underlying issues which contributed to the offence. This can include drug and alcohol rehabilitation, or anger management counselling. You will also be required to submit to drug testing, and if appropriate, alcohol testing on a regular basis and you will probably need to abide by a curfew.
Under what circumstances can I get a home detention or intensive correction order?
Home detention orders are given at the discretion of the judge to offenders who have been sentenced to a period of time in custody. There are a number of factors which will be taken into consideration by the court when deciding whether to impose a custodial sentence, or to allow an offender to serve their time at home. In order to qualify for home detention, you will need to:
- Be considered a suitable person for home detention. This means there needs to not be a perceived likelihood of any risk to the community if you are allowed to reside at home and/or participate in employment. You will be required to undergo a suitability assessment to determine whether a home detention or intensive correction order is appropriate.
- Be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years in length.
- Not be facing conviction for a prescribed sexual offence.
- Not have been previously convicted of murder or any sexual offences against adults or children.
- Not be under an Apprehended Violence Order or have had one taken out against you in the previous five years.
- Not have been convicted of a domestic violence offence within the last five years against anyone you will be residing with or are likely to resume a relationship with if released.
- Never have been convicted of an offence involving stalking or intimidation for the purposes of causing the person to fear personal injury.
If you are given a home detention order or an intensive correction order as an alternative to a custodial sentence, you will be regularly monitored to ensure you are in compliance with the conditions. If you are found to be breaching the terms of your home detention order, you could end up having it revoked and have to serve out the remainder of your sentence in custody.
It’s important that you understand the conditions of a home detention order or intensive correction order. Although both penalties are considered less severe than a custodial sentence, it’s still important that you take them seriously to avoid having to serve time in jail.