The nation’s flawed community supervision system operates like a revolving door, ordering individuals back to prison for violations as minor as a missed meeting with a probation officer, according to the Council of State Governments Justice Center, in a report advocates say is a “wake-up call” for reform.
Just months after a former Ohio Parole Board member criticized the board for “frighteningly unfair” decisions based on bias and racism, Gov. Mike DeWine announced reforms aimed at improving the process and making it more transparent.
Judith Clark took part in a deadly 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored car in which two police officers and a guard were killed. The son of a victim said, “We’re outraged and sickened by this whole decision.”
Philadelphia’s progressive-minded district attorney, Larry Krasner, will instruct his deputies to seek probation and parole terms far shorter than has been typical. Over-use of supervision, he says, is harmful and costly.
Under new rules, Philadelphia defendants have the right to take part in a timely preliminary hearing via video. Since the hearings began three months ago, 467 people have been released and fewer than 4 percent have failed to appear at a later hearing.
Only if states and counties start making radical changes to how they deal with the four million Americans currently on probation or parole, says a panel of experts at John Jay College. One idea: a probation officer as “coach.”
Four states got Cs, six states got Ds, and the rest failed miserably in a survey by the Prison Policy Initiative of the 34 states that haven’t abolished parole. The survey assessed, among other things, the transparency and fairness of probation and parole systems.
One crime, two defendants, and parole decisions reaching opposite conclusions. The New Yorker digs into the politics and emotions roiling the aftermath of a double murder that happened in very different times.