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Definition of Graduated sanctions

Graduated sanctions Definition from Law Dictionaries & Glossaries
OJJDP's Performance Measures Glossary
A graduated sanctions system is a set of integrated intervention strategies designed to operate in unison to enhance accountability, ensure public safety, and reduce recidivism by preventing future delinquent behavior. The term graduated sanctions implies that the penalties for delinquent activity should move from limited interventions to more restrictive (i.e., graduated) penalties according to the severity and nature of the crime. In other words, youth who commit serious and violent offenses should receive more restrictive sentences than youth who commit less serious offenses.
  
Source: The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) ( About )