What are the two ways that community residential centers are used as intermediate sanctions?

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Intermediate sanctions is a form of punishment in the criminal justice system that resulted from overcrowding of prisons. As incarceration levels in the US have swelled to astronomical heights, the criminal justice system developed forms of punishment that were more restrictive than lower level probation, but kept someone from being...

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Intermediate sanctions is a form of punishment in the criminal justice system that resulted from overcrowding of prisons. As incarceration levels in the US have swelled to astronomical heights, the criminal justice system developed forms of punishment that were more restrictive than lower level probation, but kept someone from being incarcerated or allowed them to be released from prison at an earlier date. Criminal justice system reform activists also pushed for the creation of intermediate sanctions with the goal of rehabilitation and lower recidivism rate (the rate of formerly incarcerated people returning to prison). Community residential centers, or halfway houses, are used as intermediate sanctions as an alternative to prison in the following two ways:

1. They are a heavily restrictive environment in which a resident is not allowed to leave without permission. They are similar to prisons in that there are strict rules that must be followed and are more restrictive than mere probation but fall short of true incarceration.

2. While at the community residential center, a resident is expected to obtain employment and/or an education, which is part of the rehabilitative and reduced recidivism goal of intermediate sanctions.

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Community residential centers like half-way houses serve a couple of purposes. Reducing the number of people incarcerated is a primary goal of these facilities and loosely supervising the offender is a second. This is called an intermediate sanction because the people that live there have been convicted of some crime, usually non-violent crimes. A full sanction would consist of putting these people in prison. Usually people in these facilities must obtain employment and go to that job during the day and then return to the half-way house at night. Strict curfews are enforced and any deviation or infraction of the rules of the house by the offender can mean that this privilege is revoked and the person will be jailed.

The resident needs some supervision and direction but not as much or not as intense as the incarcerated convictee. Commonly, people convicted of minor drug crimes qualify for residence in these centers and they must submit to random urine drug test's to verify compliance with the terms of the sanction.

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