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Chapter Summary and Key Concepts

Chapter 13 reviews alternatives to prison for criminal offenders; these include probation (instead of prison) and parole (after prison).

Community Corrections and Diversion

  • Society cannot afford to imprison everyone who violates the law. Community corrections are a way to punish offenders without incarcerating them.

  • Prisons only achieve the goals of incapacitation, retribution, and rehabilitation in a limited manner.

  • The four interrelated community corrections strategies are diversion programs, probation, parole, and intermediate sanctions.

  • Offenders may be sent to alternative programs at several junctures in the criminal justice system.

  • Diversion programs are popular for first-time offenders who have committed minor offenses.


  • Probation is a widely used sentencing alternative in which offenders are not incarcerated if they promise good behavior and agree to restrictions and/or requirements set by a judge.

  • There are more probationers than inmates or parolees, and state probationers outnumber federal probationers.

  • Three activities define the occupation of the probation officer: investigation, supervision, and service.

  • The probation officer is responsible for writing the pre-sentence investigation report.

  • The pre-sentence investigation report contains information about two important aspects of the case: the legal history of the incident and the offender’s social history.


  • Parole is for offenders who are leaving prison after serving a partial sentence.

  • Parole grew from the philosophy that the penal system should help the offender return to society.

  • Parolees face much of the same restrictions and requirements as probationers.

  • The decision to grant parole is based on three principles: retribution, rehabilitation, and prison space.

  • Parole boards make their decisions based on time served, prison adjustment, pre-parole plan, offender interview, and victim-impact statements.

  • Offenders returning to society face three primary obstacles: prisonization, weakened social ties, and stigmatization.

Intermediate Sanctions

  • Intermediate sanctions are sentencing alternatives that exist between probation and incarceration. Notable examples are intensive supervision probation, drug testing, house arrest/electronic monitoring, fines, and boot-camp prisons.

  • Shock probation is a program in which the offender receives a false sentence in jail or prison, but is released on probation after 30 to 90 days of incarceration.


  • Jails are fundamental to the corrections system.

  • Jails hold suspects awaiting disposition and misdemeanor offenders sentenced to less than a year of incarceration.

  • The local jail may be connected to a larger local corrections system that includes work-release programs, road crews, stockades, and local probation departments.

  • Jails are controlled by either the local sheriff or a jail administrator.

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