Intermediate Sanctions And Shock Probation Options Criminology Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Community correction is a term that refers to everything ranging from diversion before the trial to the punishments that follows after trial. This refers to any way ranging to non imprisonment yet supervised ways used to deal with criminal offenders who are facing conviction or who have been convicted. (Beck et al., 2001). Probation as well as parole are the two most commonly way pf dealing with the offenders though there are many ways such as being confined at home, electronic surveillance, day fines, community service shock probation and residential community supervision to mention but a few. The following are some of the intermediate sanction actions in the criminal corrections:

Shock probation

Probation is a punishment which is imposed by the court of releasing the offender back in to the community under the conditions of the suspended sentence. This type of sanctions assumes that the offenders are not so dangerous that they may respond to rehabilitation while in the community. This type of sanction is imposed on the first time offenders or non violent offender who it is believed that the remaining part of the sentence will best be served in the community while still serving the sentence. (Cripe and Clair, 1997).

Shock probation refers to a term for a number of years but after a few days such as 30, 60m or 90 days the offender is then removed from the prison. In shock probation, the offender is first sentenced to jail then after 30, 60 or even 90 days the offender is brought again to the court and re sentenced again in to the community probation. This is unlike other systems of probations like the split probation where the probation was part of the overall sentence and the offender is not required to go back before the judge for re-sentencing. However, both the shock and split probations have the same features: jail and some community. (Beck et al., 2001).

The use of shock probation in America lies between two philosophies: classical and positivist. The classical believes that the criminals choose their actions therefore there is need for them to be punished in order to prevent future offences. On the other hand, the positivists believe that the offenders committed the offences without their own will and therefore the conditions that led to the offences should be corrected in order to rehabilitate the offender. In addition, the acts of the legislature and the sentiments of the public dictate the application of the probation. (Cripe and Clair, 1997). Therefore, this leaves the universal applications and methods of application of the probation not to be available. This leaves the philosophies to have evolved and moved in to the 21st century.

The above factors therefore lead to inconsistency in the application of probation in that the application of probation lies in the hands of few selected individuals such as the prosecutor and the judicial system. (Cripe and Clair, 1997).

Intensive supervision

This is the commonly used community based correction program in the US. This is whereby the offender is put under intensive supervision than other types of the supervision but does not lock the offender in prison. This type of correction is used to give the judge a new option other than the too harsh jail sentence or the too light probation sentence. Intensive supervision is effective in reducing crowding in prison; it saves the tax payers money and provides a better way of protecting the community unlike other methods of probation. This is because of the closer supervision which is given to the offender. The method of correction is also important because it provides the offenders with better ways to rehabilitate in a normal community setting. (Petersilia and Joan,1997).

The individuals are first evaluated in order to determine their risk towards the community before a standard supervised probation program is designed. Offenders with long histories of criminal records or those offenders who have committed violent offenses do not qualify for the intensive supervision program as they are imprisoned instead. (Petersilia and Joan,1997). This method combines some forms of electronic surveillance of the offenders, employment opportunities to the offenders or preparation for the employment, drug testing and counseling, house arrest, community service and having a strict adherence to meet with the assigned supervisor.

The supervision officers in the intensive supervision program have a small caseload whereby they deal with few offenders such as twenty. This gives them enough time to meet regularly with the offenders to supervise them on the progress of the rehabilitation. They usually meet once a week for the intensive rehabilitation sessions. In the beginning, the officers and the offenders meet once or twice per day. Some offenders are put on the intensive supervision program without even being imprisoned while other offenders join the program after serving their minimum jail sentence. (Petersilia and Joan,1997).

Residential community corrections

Involvement of the families and the communities of the offenders are important in the rehabilitation of the offenders. Despite it being some how risky, it is important to ensure that children of the parents who had been imprisoned do not repeat the cycle of engaging in criminal activities. To end this, the families and the communities would play a key role. The criminal justice devices a criminal program of involving the families and the communities in the rehabilitation of the criminals. (Pugh, 1968).This is whereby the families, communities, authorities and the offenders work together to instill good characters in to the offenders. It builds better relationships among the stakeholders protecting the welfare of all people in the community.

The program includes the community in the rehabilitation and reentry programs of the offenders. This program clearly communicates to offenders what behavior patterns are expected of them. On the other hand the offenders participate on such programs on a voluntary basis in order to seek reentry in to the community. (Pugh, 1968). Each of the offenders must submit an application that will be considered for the acceptance in to the program. The offenders are required to accept full responsibility of their past criminal behavior, accept the hurt their behaviors caused others, agree to participate in some forms of the community service and agree to abide by all the obligations and recommendations required of them by the community. They meet regularly to evaluate the progress, commend for improved positive attitude and rebuke negative behavior. (Pugh, 1968).

Question Two: Public and Private Prisons

The prison remains as the basic way in which a just society could punish, avoid recurrence of crime and rehabilitate the criminal offenders. Recently, the government empowered bodies have bestowed the prison powers by the public. The present day development of privatized prison system has seen new prison structure being placed. This shifts the attention in that deterrence, rehabilitation and punishment of offenders does not remain as the only goals. The private prisons seek to get financial wealth from the imprisonment of the offenders. This is mainly aimed at streamlining negative faults present in the public prisons such as overcrowding and recidivism but it has suffered a lot of criticism in the process. (Petersilia and Joan,1997).

Private prisons are not a new concept in America. The private investors had contracted many offenders to some private businesses in order to provide labor since the mid 1800s. However, this did not last long because of the amount of corruption that lasted in this time and other business who opposed that unpaid workers were bringing unfair competition in the market. Today's prisons work on a different level than the earlier models with new features that look rather promising. (Pugh, 1968).

The cost of crime is ever increasing as a result of the ever increasing crime rate. This results in more money being spent in the employment of the security guards, administrators, health, food service providers and educationalists, and construction of new facilities in order to keep up with the increasing number of offenders. By allowing the private prisons investors to take over, the costs involved in these expenses would not be drawn directly from the tax payers' money. This allows the government to use its revenues better in other areas that are in need of assistance. The private firms also reduce the costs incurred by the public prisons in wastage reduction and to increase productivity. This increases their competitive. (Harrison and Beck, 2003). The costs incurred in public prisons are recorded to be twice that incurred by private prisons. The private prisons also save on construction and management costs. Contrary to this, some lobby groups believe that the profit motivation will weaken the cost reduction activities leading to looking for corners to complete the projects and would eventually result in poor or unsafe environments. However, it is evident that the prisoners and staff would be more comfortable in privatized prisons than public ones. (Pugh, 1968).

One of the greatest shortcomings of private prisons is that they are after the profits. Therefore a conflict of interest would occur in that they would be reluctant to punish and rehabilitate the offender to rehabilitate him or her and to reduce the rate of recidivism. By doing this the private prisons would be removing one of their profit making customers. This will make the prisoners not to rehabilitate while in the private prisons and will continue being a bother to the community once released. The only option available to end this is to contract such activities to other non profit making organizations such as the faith based organizations. This is because faith based organizations will set effective principles which will be vital in reshaping the criminals to become honest and productive citizens. (Robbins and Ira, 1986).

Contracting however could be risky especially where a potential bidder uses irregular means to obtain the approval of the government. Later on when the government is fully dependent on the contractor for services, the contractor may raise the expenses to unreasonable amounts. The contractors may also become bankrupt leaving the government with no other correctional capacity. The private contractor may decide to increase the fee to a high amount rather than a good profit margin without caring about the attack of the competitors. (Harrison and Beck, 2003). 

However, private prisons provide a better management flexibility which in turn is expected to produce better results in terms of innovation, expansions of the facilities, promotion of the staff and termination of the contact of some staff members. The public prisons in the last few years have been stuck in their ways of doing things and have been unable to keep up with the changing technological advancement or the changing needs of the prison inmates and staff members. The changes are vital in handling incidences of riot and outbreaks of the diseases and have been found to minimize these incidences. It is still not clear whether contracted prison officers have a right to strike though this has been the case with the public prisons whereby the staffs just walk out leaving the institution in chaos. The incidences of prison escape has been equal both in the public and private prisons. However, the cases of mistakenly releasing inmates have been witnessed in public prisons but not in private prisons. (Harrison and Beck, 2003). 

Concerning the issues of accountability, the critics of private prisons argue that the occurrences in the private prisons would be hidden from the public view and therefore not subjected to the same political controls as those of the public prisons. However, other people argue that private prisons are more accountable because once contacted by the government; the government will be more ready to monitor and control them as it would monitor itself. However, both the public and the private prisons are accountable to the same law, government supervisors and to the public through the political system available. (Harrison and Beck, 2003). The private prisons are also answerable to the insurers, investors, competitors and the stockholders. Competition from other competitors therefore acts as a better mechanism for control which is not experienced by public prisons.

The problem of funding and allocating space efficiently in the prisons would decrease if there were better markets that sell, buy and rent the prison cells. The private prisons are based in such a way that they have introduced factories behind the bars allowing them to reduce their costs and allowing the inmates to earn some money and pay in their own way and give back to the community where they came from. The public prisons do this to some extent which however cannot match that of the private prisons. (Silverman and Ira, 2001).