“Intermediate sanctions” is a term that is used to refer to punishments that are somewhere between traditional probation and actual incarceration. The idea of intermediate sanctions is to provide a broader range of punishments so that punishments can be more carefully calibrated to match the severity of the crime. They are also meant to ensure that fewer people will be incarcerated. This is important because imprisoning people has been shown to have very negative effects on the people and does not seem to reduce their likelihood of committing crimes once they are released.
There are a variety of types of intermediate sanctions. They can include things like probation that is more intensively supervised than normal probation. In this sort of probation, offenders are closely monitored, but are able to remain in the community. Hopefully, this will allow them to keep their jobs and their family and social ties. This will make them less likely to reoffend in the future.
A second kind of intermediate sanction is home confinement, preferably with electronic monitoring. This, too, allows the offender to remain in the community and can allow them to do things like going to work or school at their regularly scheduled times. By confining them to home when they are not working or going to school, this type of sanction does punish offenders, but does so without incurring the financial cost to society, or the human cost to the offender, of incarceration.
Thus, intensively-supervised probation and home confinement with electronic monitoring are two types of intermediate sanctions.