The Chronicle of Social Change reports that more than 50 current and former probation and parole officers have formed a coalition dedicated to shrinking the role that probation and parole play as a gateway to incarceration.
The group, called EXiT: Executives Transforming Probation and Parole, is supported by Columbia University’s Justice Lab, a collaborator with Art for Justice Fund grantee partner National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, and has joined forces with criminal justice reform leaders, including Van Jones, CNN commentator and founder of Dream Corps, another Fund grantee partner. It is backed by Arnold Ventures, Galaxy Gives and the Tikkun Olam Foundation.
Currently, one in four people in state prisons are incarcerated due to a probation or parole violation, at a cost of $2.5 billion. Schiraldi and the other members of EXiT believe that reforming probation and parole will help to tackle the issue of mass incarceration in the United States.
“Right now, [probation and parole in the criminal justice system] is too big to succeed,” said Vincent Schiraldi, co-director of the Columbia Justice Lab and a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation. “We need to make it smaller, make it tighter, make it more focused and more rehabilitative. With the savings we would garner from not sending those people to prison, we can pay for all sorts of programs.”