Intermediate Sanctions: The Criminal Justice System

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Intermediate sanctions can be define as also alternative sanctions or the use of split sentencing, shock probation and parole, home confinement, shock incarceration, and community service in lieu of other, more traditional, sanctions such as imprisonment and fines. Intermediate sanctions are considered increasingly popular as prison crowding grows. While each jurisdiction was -- and is -- different, the motive behind these initial efforts was the belief that many offenders, particularly those with short criminal histories and no record of violence, could be dealt with more effectively in the community than in an institution. The underlying assumption was that the purpose of sanctioning was to make offenders less likely to commit more crime, chiefly through treatment and training. Individual communities were seen to be the best judges of appropriate responses to their own offenders and, therefore, the most appropriate treatment sites. Intermediate sanctions within the sentencing guidelines are intended to provide a graduated series of sentencing options that save money and prison beds without introducing unacceptable risks to public safety but can do so only if the programs are used for the offenders for whom they are designed; often, they are used for less serious offenders. If a offender has killed someone I rather them having imprisonment than the death penalty because they aren’t suffering the pain and loss of that person’s loved ones, but if it is a nonviolent offender I rather them get intermediate sanctions so that they can hopefully learn from they mistakes what consequences can occur.
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