Parole and Probation Contribute to Our Incarceration Nation, Not Lessening the Problem

December 7th, 2017 by Attorney Dan Carman

About one in 52 American adults are under parole or probation supervision by the nation’s criminal justice systems — about five million people (which is more than the entire population of Kentucky, 4.4 million), according to the Harvard Kennedy School. The Kentucky Department of Corrections states that as of 2014 there were 46,349 people in the state on parole or probation, which is greater than the population of Covington. You may think that parole and probation can be ways to get people out of the criminal justice system, but a report published in August states the opposite is true.

The number of those on probation has nearly doubled to just under four million people in the past thirty years. This has strained under-resourced probation agencies, with many negative results:

  • Massive increases in technical violations which send people back to prison
  • A lack of meaningful interventions
  • People staying on probation for no justifiable reason
  • Supervision fees which may need to be paid by unemployed probationers who can’t afford to pay them, potentially resulting in prison time.

According to officials signing onto the Statement on the Future of Community Corrections, probation and parole are a “significant contributor to mass incarceration.”  Included in this group are the following organizations:

  • American Probation and Parole Association
  • Association of Paroling Authorities International
  • Association of State Correctional Administrators
  • National Association of Probation Executives
  • National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies
  • 35 current and former community corrections executives.

They state:

  • Criminal defendants should be sentenced to probation or released on parole only when necessary.
  • There should be shorter supervision terms, and conditions of community supervision should be less difficult and more directly connected to client wellness and community safety.

“The American justice system over relies on punitive methods to address crime, when research shows that there are more effective approaches that can keep communities safe, hold individuals accountable for their actions, and help restore hope to those impacted by crime,” said Susan Burke, President of the American Probation and Parole Association, in a Kennedy School press release.

The group recommends spending resources saved from reducing probation and parole on community-based programs that provide jobs to those under supervision and substance abuse and mental health treatment to those who are incarcerated (and posing the greatest public safety risk). This different approach could lower the risk to the general population, because those released from prison would be less likely to commit crimes again if their substance abuse and mental health issues are being addressed.

If the probation system were shrunk, it would result in a smaller and better funded system which could improve public safety by allowing probation agencies to focus their resources on those most in need of supervision and services.

If you or a family member has been charged with a crime, Lexington, KY, criminal defense attorney Dan Carman can help. He was a Judge Advocate “JAG” (defense lawyer and prosecuting attorney) for felony charges against Marine Corps and Navy personnel. This experience gives him insight into both the prosecution and defense sides of the legal process, which can be very helpful to those facing criminal offense charges. He knows how the Kentucky criminal justice system operates, including probation and parole, and will work closely with you every step of the way.

Based in Lexington, he represents clients throughout Kentucky who find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Let him work with you to plan the aggressive defense that you will need. Use the convenient online inquiry form or call (859) 838-1415 for a free initial consultation.