Advocates Believe Probation Reform Is Badly Needed in the U.S.

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Connecticut criminal law attorney for probation violationsThe issue of mass incarceration has received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, probation is another aspect of the criminal justice system that affects even more people than incarceration, and advocates for criminal justice reform believe that it is used far too often and imposes unnecessary restrictions that affect people’s rights. Because of this, many are calling for changes to laws and policies that would increase protections for people who are involved in criminal cases and help them receive the treatment and rehabilitation they need.

Problems With Probation

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that in 2018, 3.54 million people in the United States were serving a sentence of probation, while 1.6 million people were incarcerated in jails and prisons. This illustrates how often sentences of probation are issued in criminal cases. In fact, probation is often the default sentence imposed when defendants make plea bargains with prosecutors and agree to plead guilty in order to receive lesser charges.

While probation is often seen as an alternative to prison that allows a defendant to receive rehabilitation while remaining integrated into the community, it can impose a number of restrictions that affect people’s rights. Those on probation are subject to supervision, monitoring, and other forms of control, and they are often required to follow multiple types of arbitrary conditions that are unrelated to their criminal charges. 

In many cases, defendants face additional consequences for violating the terms of their probation. The Council of State Governments has reported that 23% of people who are admitted into state prisons were incarcerated because of probation violations. Around half of these cases involved minor violations of the conditions of probation, such as failure to comply with curfews, missed appointments with supervisors, or failed drug tests. As is true for most other aspects of the criminal justice system, people of color are disproportionately affected by these issues and are more likely to face consequences for probation violations.

To address these issues, advocates have proposed a number of reforms to the probation system. These include reducing the types of cases where sentences of probation may be issued, minimizing the length of probation sentences, making it more difficult for prosecutors to convict people for probation violations, reducing the restrictions placed on people who are on probation, and finding alternative methods of treatment and rehabilitation outside of the criminal justice system.

Contact Our Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer

Those who are facing criminal charges deserve to have their rights protected both during their case and while they are serving a sentence. At the Woolf Law Firm, we can provide you with a strong defense to help you avoid a conviction or reduce the charges against you, and we will advocate for an appropriate sentence that will avoid unnecessary restrictions. To get legal help with your case, contact our Hartford criminal defense attorney and schedule a free consultation by calling 860-290-8690.

Sources:

https://theappeal.org/the-lab/report/the-case-for-moving-beyond-probation-and-how-to-do-it/

https://justicelab.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/content/Too_Big_to_Succeed_Report_FINAL.pdf

https://www.exitprobationparole.org/statement

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