Intermediate Sanctions Essay

400 WordsMar 16, 20092 Pages
Between 1985 and 1990 there were three factors and events that occurred that, combined, led to the development of a consensus in the U.S. of the need to change the probation system. Crowded southern prisons and a poor economy; an in-depth study of felony probation, and the publication of an influential book on sentencing were the three factors that lead to the push for midlevel punishments for offenders who were to high risk for regular probation and incarceration seemed unnecessary. The ruling by some federal courts that quite a few southern prisons were overcrowded and in violation of the 8th Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The courts mandated that the states needed to either build new prisons or find a different way to punish offenders. Since the recession of the 1980s kept several states from building new prisons, these states developed tough but inexpensive alternative sentences. For example, Georgia developed the first well known intensive supervision program or ISP. This program was designed for the offenders who would have gone to prison if it wasn't for the new program. In 1983 the National Institute of Justice awarded a grant to the Rand Corporation to conduct a study of felony probation in the United States. This was the first in-depth study ever and the results became the second event that influenced the establishment of ISPs in the United States. The results were published in 1985 and showed that serious felons were being granted probation and that public safety was compromised. The study showed that within 3 years of being granted probation, two-thirds of the almost 2,000 felons were rearrested, where more than half of those arrests were for serious offenses. The book Between Prison and Probation: Intermediate Punishments in a Rational Sentencing System by Norval Morris and Michael Tonry was published and

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