The fence serves as a tool of imprisonment, preventing escape by the district's citizens. Beyond the fence, the woods begin, and just outside is where the Meadow lies. Although the fence is supposed to be electrified 24 hours a day, most of the time this was not the case.
It is implied to have been out of service for a period of time, and is thus, easily crossed. With the exception of hunters such as Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne, most citizens never cross the fence. While trespassing was technically illegal, the Peacekeepers of District 12 never enforced the law, as they also desired the meat that the hunters bring home. This changes upon the arrival of Romulus Thread as Head Peacekeeper.
Katniss mentions that occasionally, in the autumn, some citizens walk about 60 feet beyond the fence to pick up fruit that is harvestable; however, they always stay near "the safety of the fence". Katniss also says that wild animals could easily get into the district if they pleased; she is convinced that the only reason they stay away is that the smell of District 12 drives animals away.
The fence is described as being a 6 metre high chain-link fence topped with barbed wire loops. It is quite old and rusty because it has not been well maintained or used. Romulus Thread ordered the fence electrified upon his arrival to the district as the Head Peacekeeper.
In Mockingjay, when the district was bombed by the Capitol, Gale gathered large numbers of citizens and ordered them to stand in the meadow to avoid getting hit by the bombs. After the bombing was over, they crossed the fence to enter the forest, where they were later found by District 13. Following the victory of the Second Rebellion, the district's fence was torn down, and residents were permitted to freely explore the woods.
Known citizens to have crossed the fence
- Mr. Everdeen
- Mrs. Everdeen
- Primrose Everdeen
- Katniss Everdeen
- Gale Hawthorne
- Hazelle Hawthorne
- Rory Hawthorne
- Vick Hawthorne
- Posy Hawthorne
- Delly Cartwright
- Greasy Sae
- Greasy Sae's granddaughter
There is also a fence in District 11, which Katniss sees briefly in the Victory Tour train. District 11's fence is described as being 30 feet high, and thus resembles more a wall than just a mere fence, not to mention that it was always electrified and guarded. Seeing the fence, Katniss realizes just how different life in District 11 is, and says that the chance of getting under it is 'non-existent'.