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Intermediate Sanctions: Definition, Types, Pros & Cons

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  • 0:02 What Are Intermediate…
  • 0:51 Types of Intermediate…
  • 1:46 Pros of Intermediate Sanctions
  • 2:16 Cons of Intermediate Sanctions
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Schubert

Jessica is a practicing attorney and has taught law and has a J.D. and LL.M.

Learn about what constitutes intermediate sanctions and the types that exist. Examine the pros of intermediate sanctions and contrast them with the cons of these sanctions.

What Are Intermediate Sanctions?

While you may not think you know what intermediate sanctions are, you probably have seen them in action in recent celebrity cases. For example, the actress Lindsay Lohan received intermediate sanctions. Miss Lohan was in trouble with the law, charged with a multitude of drug and alcohol-related offenses. In 2014, she received a 125-hour community service sentence. She also has been under house arrest and has had to pay numerous fines for breaking the law. These sentences all avoided jail time for Lohan.

Intermediate sanctions are criminal penalties that do not include jail time or probation. Rather, intermediate sanctions fall in the middle of these types of punishments and offer an alternative to them. Intermediate sanctions are intended to provide judges with more flexibility when directing sentences.

Types of Intermediate Sanctions

Some types of intermediate sanctions include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • House arrest: This involves the offender being confined to his or her home. The offender usually cannot leave unless traveling to and from court, although going on specific errands or attending work or school may sometimes be allowed.
  • Fines: These can range from mere dollars to thousands of dollars.
  • Close monitoring: This can involve checking in with probation officers, therapists, and others to ensure that the offender is not committing crimes.
  • Community service: This involves the offender doing types of volunteer work, such as helping at a soup kitchen or animal shelter.
  • Electronic monitoring: This involves the offender's wearing of an electronic monitoring device that tracks his or her movement.
  • Living in a monitored residential community: This can include such living arrangements as a halfway house or sober living facility, depending upon the circumstances.

Pros of Intermediate Sanctions

There are many advantages of the use of intermediate sanctions. Initially, the use of intermediate sanctions is less expensive than the use of jail and prison sentences. Additionally, intermediate sanctions allow for flexibility and include a punishment that proportionally relates to the severity of the crime committed. Furthermore, the use of intermediate sanctions helps to protect the general public from an offender when close monitoring is used as the sanction. Finally, intermediate sanctions reduce the overcrowding of prisons.

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