Our probation and parole programs were originally intended to hold people accountable and serve as an alternative to incarceration. But they have become a leading contributor to jail and prison populations. Essentially, these programs are a set-up for reincarceration.
Since 1980, the nation’s community supervision population has ballooned by almost 240 percent. As of 2016, 1 in 55 U.S. adults (nearly 4.5 million people) are on probation or parole, more than twice the number incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails.
Of the 4.5 million individuals on community supervision nationwide, more than 75% were serving terms of supervision for nonviolent offenses and at least 40% were on probation or parole for relatively minor offenses. This costs taxpayers and communities dearly and places substantial long-term restrictions on individuals who pose little or no threat to society.