Community Corrections and Offenders
Community-based corrections—also known as intermediate sanctions, community corrections, and alternatives to incarceration— are designed for continued surveillance of convicted offenders while they are in the community. A wide range of community-based correctional programs that are part of the criminal justice system help to monitor and supervise convicted offenders. Some of the more widely used community-based correctional programs include probation, parole, electronic monitoring, and halfway houses.
Community-based correctional programs are used by the criminal justice system in two main ways. First, they are used to divert an offender from the prison. Under this approach, a convicted offender's prison sentence is suspended in lieu of a community-based program, such as probation. As long as the offender complies with the requirements of the sanction, such as not using drugs, staying away from bars, and reporting to the probation officer weekly, the offender will not be remanded to prison. However, if the terms of the sanction are violated, then the offender will be transferred back to prison to serve the rest of the sentence. The second way that community-based correctional programs are used is to release an inmate from the prison prior to the expiration of his or her sentence. When used in this way, the offender is gradually reintegrated into society under the close supervision of a probation or parole officer.
Whether or not an offender commits another crime while on a community-based program is influenced by a range of factors, including the type of community-based program the offender is attending and his or her demographic characteristics, of which the type of offense is perhaps the most important. Some types of offenders, such as violent offenders and sex offenders, are highly likely to recidivate. As a result, some community-based correctional programs are designed especially for monitoring these special populations of offenders. By matching specific types of offenders to individualized programs, the rates of recidivism are reduced considerably.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Pay attention to the various forms of intermediate sanctions, such as electronic monitoring and halfway houses. Consider how each of the intermediate sanctions could be applied to different types of offenders, such as drug and sex offenders.
Consider how the various types of probation, such as automated probation and intensive supervised probation, might be differentially applied to various types of offenders.
Review the article, "Probation and Parole Statistics." Pay attention to the types of offenders who are typically sentenced to probation. Reflect on whether probation is appropriate for all types of offenders, such as violent and sex offenders.
Review the article, "Principles of Effective Assessment for Community Corrections." Reflect on how risk assessment can be used to protect the public and place offenders on the most effective form of community supervision. Also, pay attention to offenders' individual characteristics that help to predict their future criminal behavior while they are on community corrections.
Using the Internet or Walden University Library, select and research a criminal case—historical or contemporary—that was covered in the news for which a community-based correctional program would be appropriate. Reflect on the various forms of community-based correctional programs available for the offender.
Choose one community-based correctional program that you feel is the most appropriate and would be the most effective for this offender. Also, consider the role of offenders' individual characteristics in structuring their punishment.
Post by Day 2 a brief description of the case you selected. Then describe one community-based correctional program you think would be most effective for the offender in the case and explain why. Be specific and be sure to take the individual characteristics of the offender into account.
Choose one comm