I do believe that the general public is ready, in this political climate, to accept the use of more intermediate sanctions. There are two main reasons for this.
First, crime rates have been in decline for several years now. This is likely to mean that people are less worried about crime than they would have been in years past. If people are not as worried about crime, they are more likely to accept things like intermediate sanctions instead of insisting that the government needs to “get tough” on crime.
Second, the financial problems of our governments actually work in favor of intermediate sanctions. People are coming to be aware of the huge cost of incarcerating inmates. In these tougher economic times, they are less willing to bear those costs in order to imprison criminals who do not pose a major threat to society.
For these reasons, I would argue that the general public is ready to accept more intermediate sanctions. We have already seen things like the rise of the use of drug courts even in conservative states. This would seem to indicate that people are ready for a change.