Intermediate Punishments



MainPurpose of

Stateand federal governments have formulated and implemented alternativesto prison sentencing and probation (Abadinsky, 2012). The newapproach is called intermediate punishments or sanctions are morecomplex compared to traditional probation, and its expenses arecheaper when compared to prison sentencing (Tonry, 2011). Probationis less severe, and it is bottom of punishments while prison is atthe top while intermediate sanctions are on the middle. The purposesof intermediate punishments are:

  • Effective alternatives – it provides an effective alternative to prisons and jails. It is attributed to the ineffectiveness and injurious nature of penal institutions (Abadinsky, 2012). In addition, lack of scientific evidence that prisons and jails are effective or prevents future criminality means it is important to utilize alternative measures. Moreover, it provides an alternative to reducing pretrial detainees, incarceration for misdemeanants and reduction of prison overcrowding

  • Cost – intermediate punishments are cheaper when compared to incarceration. In addition, intermediate sanction based offenders contribute to the society through performing community services, reimburse victims, pay taxes, and generate income. Moreover, in future prison and jail construction might not be required.

  • Fairness promotion – it ensures fair, equitable and proportional punishments are administered that are important for the community (Abadinsky, 2012). For example, it is not appropriate to give probationary sentences, which are similar to a shoplifter and to a rapist. Therefore, intermediate sentencing presents an opportunity to the charge to determine the appropriate sentence.

  • Increased control – the punishments can be designed to check recidivists who probation sentence may be inappropriate while jail sentences being counterproductive and unruly harsh. It is beneficial to those offenders who are on probation but still commit other offenses

ThePunishment Fits the Crime

Thepunishment to the offender should fit the crime committed. Theimportance of intermediate punishment is weighing the nature of theoffence against the type of punishment, which is available (Tonry,2011). Probation and sentencing may be harsh to some of offences andmay be lenient to others. Therefore, the use of intermediatepunishment is crucial in ensuring appropriate sentencing or charge ismade.


Abadinsky,H. (2012). Probationand parole: Theory and practice (11th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Tonry,M. (2011). Whypunish? How much? A reader on punishment.Oxford: Oxford University Press.