Intermediate sanctions are the median measures used by the courts to punish offenders who are considered to have committed a crime that needs a stricter punishment than probation but that does not warrant an incarceration (Hosking, n.d.). While the offender still lives with the community, he is to participate in the programs and activities that aim at reforming him to avoid a repeat of the same offense (Shubert, n.d.). There are various types of intermediate sanctions used by the courts to punish offenders. They include intensive supervision probation, boot camps or shock probation, work release programs, day reporting centers, home confinement, money penalties, compulsory labor in the form of community service and victim-offender reconciliation program (Tonry, 1997). This essay helps understand the various types of intermediate sanctions used to punish the offenders as well as their benefits and informs on how to apply them in different cases to determine which intermediate sanction is the best for the court to use based on the examples of some cases.
Intensive supervision probation is applicable when offenders are placed under strict surveillance and monitored by the supervision officer to avoid a repeat of the crime. Such probation may be done through participation in pro-social activities. The benefits of intensive supervision can be overstated since the programs, which the judge orders the criminals to take, help them to correct their behaviors, thus making the community safe (Mudaliar, 2015). They also reduce the amount of prisoners in prisons, which is cost saving to the state. It is also viewed as a promising tool for facilitating the treatment of offenders, especially the drunkards. The judge can order that the offender be sent to a prison/boot camp for a short period. Such a probation is known as shock probation through structured but military-like activities that focus on discipline, physical labor, and education programs. Once out of prison, criminals are taken to probation for a period (Mudaliar, 2015). This form of intermediate sanction is viewed as a way to help the offender by exposing him to know prison difficulties, and once he/she is out, they would not wish to commit such an offense again that would take them back to jail (Jones, 2012). Home confinement, which is commonly known as house arrest, can be electrically monitored or not. This method ensures that the offenders remain in their homes for a specified period. They only leave their homes when permitted and they are supervised during their activities. The supervisor monitors the offender by ensuring that they comply with the set conditions by the court, and in the case of contravention, a stricter punishment follows. The method is very flexible since some plans can be used, and it is less costly to the offenders as they are confined to their homes. House arrest has been viewed by the community as a very feasible form of punishment, which is quite significant to the community.
Community service is a program, in which the offender offers compulsory, free, or donated labor for a particular period to society. Not only is this punishment beneficial to the community, but it also helps the offender by allowing him to feel as if he contributes to building the community. Work release program enables the offender to work in specified centers and after that, go to secured correctional facilities when through with their work (Mudaliar, 2015). This program grants the offender a chance to maintain smooth relations with their employers and family while still serving their sentence.
Victim–offender reconciliation program is a program that aims at bringing the victim and the offender on the same page as a solution is being sorted out. The offenders are helped to understand the severity of their crime and forced to correct the damage, which ensures that they do not repeat the same offense. The method is advantageous to the community as it fosters forgiveness and cohesion. However, sometimes, the victim might not be interested in this program and would wish that the offender received a different punishment (Mudaliar, 2015).
Day reporting centers intermediate sanction is a form of punishment, in which the offender is required to report to a particular location on routine or a pre-arranged basis where they can participate in activities like counseling and job training (Mudaliar, 2015). These supervised activities grant the offender's capacity to earn a living. Finally, monetary penalties, which include fines and restitution, are used to punish offenders by making payment to the court or the victim. The court orders the offender to pay a fine depending on how serious the crime he has committed or based on their level of income. This method is beneficial to the community as it helps it raise revenue for the state. (Shubert, n.d.). In general, the intermediate sanctions have some benefits to the communities. The alternatives are less expensive and flexible as compared to jail and prison sentences, and they offer mental treatment to the offenders.
In the case study A, the offender has a previous case of fraud, in which the court convicted him and granted him a sentence of probation. He, however, did not adhere to the instruction that the court had given to him. In his current case, John faces the allegation of fraud after he had forged a cheque and used it in a local grocery store. The court should go ahead and sentence John to a work release program, where he can still work in his painting job since he is the breadwinner of the family. After he is through with his day job working hours, he should be secured in a correction facility where he can participate in structured activities under the supervision of the officer in charge. This program will ensure that he does not run from his punishment like he did the first time, while ensuring that he has a chance to maintain contacts with his employer and his family.
In case B, Richardo, who has been a member of a gang for the last year, is charged with the offense of theft from his employer. He was previously accused of crimes of shoplifting, stealing a motor vehicle and three cases of DUI, or Drinking Under the Influence. The reports presented to the court explain that the offender needs to learn discipline, good working habits, develop respect for other people and a positive attitude towards authority. Therefore, the court should sentence the offender to shock probation/boot camp. This issue will enable him to turn his behavior around since the program will give him a chance to have a taste of prison life, helping him change his attitude.
Intermediate sanctions are the alternative sentences used to supervise neither offenders who are not under the probation program nor the incarcerated individuals. It enables the offender to remain with his family and the community is safe at the same time. These sanctions include intensive supervision probation, boot camps or shock probation, work release programs, day reporting centers, home confinement, money penalties, compulsory labor in the form of community service, and victim-offender reconciliation program. The alternatives serve as better means to punish criminals without actually sending them to prison, which reduces the number of inmates in the prisons. For instance, for Case A, the person needs to work under close supervision and he must be restrained in a correction facility after work. For Case B, the offender's crime is more serious, and thus, he needs shock probation to facilitate behavioral change.