WHAT WOULD THIS BILL DO?
- Decrease the amount of time people spend under unnecessary supervision.
- Prevent people from being re-incarcerated for minor technical violations.
- Reduce the amount of time people spend under supervision when they complete courses and exhibit good behavior.
- Place limits on additional time served for violations.
WHY DOES PENNSYLVANIA NEED PROBATION REFORM?
- Of all 50 states, Pennsylvania has the second highest percentage of citizens on probation and parole and the highest incarceration rate in the entire western world.
- In 2016, Pennsylvania had 112,000 people on parole. Illinois, a state similar in population and geographic density to Pennsylvania, had fewer than 30,000 people on parole.
- Pennsylvania spends over $200MM annually on community supervision – far too much to spend on a system that hurts more people than it helps.
- Pennsylvania law requires formerly incarcerated people to serve the remainder of their maximum sentence on parole. Lengthy periods of supervision increase the likelihood of people going back to jail and keep incarceration rates high.
- PA allows probation terms for as long as the maximum legal sentence. As of today, 31 other states cap probation at five years for most charges. In any of those states, Meek Mill’s case, as an example, would have been closed years ago.
- Regulations governing the parole process present obstacles to the members of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole from granting parole. To start, board members are not required to meet with the person whose future they are considering. Although the law requires the input of prosecutors, it remains muted on whether family members, former employers, or prison staff can provide input. Under the current law, petitioners are not offered a way to challenge any false information provided to board members, thus giving less hope for approval of the board’s decision.