Intermediate Sanctions in the Federal Criminal Justice System

GGD-94-63BR: Published: Jan 14, 1994. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on intermediate sanctions in the federal criminal justice system, focusing on: (1) available sanctions; (2) eligibility for the sanctions; (3) the sanctions imposed on convicted offenders in fiscal year (FY) 1991; (4) the agencies that administer the sanctions; (5) the monthly operating and expansion costs of intermediate sanctions; and (6) legal limitations to the increased availability or use of intermediate sanctions.

GAO found that: (1) the three available intermediate sanctions are probation with a confinement condition, a short prison sentence followed by supervised release, and boot camps; (2) eligibility for intermediate sanctions is determined by the U.S. Code and the U.S. Sentencing Commission guidelines, and is based on the offender's criminal history and final offense score under the sentencing guidelines; (3) 73 percent of the offenders sentenced in FY 1991 received imprisonment, 14 percent received probation, and 11 percent received intermediate sanctions; (4) the probation and prison systems usually split jurisdiction for administering sanctions because most sentences are composed of more than one sanction; (5) the cost of administering intermediate sanctions is difficult to determine because costs vary according to the length and composition of sentences, the number and type of offenders entering the system, and the per capita cost of administering each sanction; and (6) the U.S. Code, sentencing guidelines, and Bureau of Prisons regulations limit the availability and use of intermediate sanctions.

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