Alternatives to incarceration have been explored in recent years due to the overcrowding in the correctional system. Intermediate sanctions is one of those alternatives. Intermediate sanctions have long way been used in the United States due to the benefits and options that it offers from saving money to reducing overcrowding but it does, however, have its unfortunate faults. There are many programs within intermediate sanctions that work and some that fall behind. Intermediate sanctions is an alternative to the costly prison system but to what end?
As an alternative to incarceration, intermediate sanctions are most often used for non-violent offenders. Intermediate sanctions is a new option of punishment that was develop to better match the punishment with the seriousness of the crime for non-violent offenders. With this new kind of punishment, comes new responsibility for the offender to become a contributing member of his or her community (textbook, 131). The main way that offenders accomplish this is by learning new job skills and holding a stable job (textbook, 131). Along with the responsibility of job, offenders are sometimes ordered to do additional sanctions which includes, paying any fines, getting an education or even getting treatment if needed (textbook, 131). Offenders are, at times, ordered to do all of these. Intermediate sanctions can be implemented in several ways. It can be implemented during arraignment or the initial sentencing, after the offender agrees to treatment and has shown improvement to comply, or it can be implemented as a means to reduce the population in the correctional system (textbook, 131). This brings up the question of whether intermediate sanctions should be used and at to what cost to the government.
There are many reasons why intermediate sanctions are used and should be used. The main idea of having intermediate sanctions is to bridge the gap of sentencing between probation and prison. According to Tonry, “intermediate sanctions have been seen as a way both to reduce the need for prison beds and to provide a continuum of sanctions that satisfies the ‘just deserts’ concern for proportionality in punishment” (1997). Reducing the overcrowding of the correctional system goes hand in hand with the added benefits of implementing such programs. Intermediate sanctions allows for better sentencing that fits the crime due to the fact that this allows sentencing boards to architect a desired, more specific, outcome for each case. For example, they can make a program that are more rehabilitative, and more punitive, along with intensive supervision (Utah,). This allows the offender to get the help they need, while still having power over them. Prosecutors and sentencing boards can do any combination of these sanctions in order to get a desired outcome from the offender.
With the reduction of the overcrowding in prisons comes the reduction in cost. In a study done by OPPAGA,...