A report from Mark Kleiman at UCLA is pitching the claim that a better community corrections system can improve parole supervision, place a million people on probation rather than in prison, and better supervise high risk probationers. His new philosophy of community corrections management most notably includes short (a couple of days) administratively imposed sanctions for probation violations, more treatment resources, and episodes of zero tolerance enforcement.
I'm skeptical, first, because I think there are real limits to what even intensive supervision can do to reduce reoffense rates, although it is a good part of a total solution, and second, because I don't think that society or offenders will accept this regime as a true punishment for their criminal conduct. Preventing future offenses is one purpose of the criminal justice system, but not the only one.
(Hat tip to the Sentencing Law Blog).