In The News

New Research Shows Minor Violations to Parole and Probation Result in a Quarter of All State Prison Admissions

According to a new report, a quarter of state prison admissions are the result of a minor violation to parole and probation. In total, this amounts to 95,000 people being sent to prison each day for things such as missing curfew or not receiving pre-approval to change their residence.

The research, released by the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments, a federally funded research and policy group, found that these arrests cost taxpayers $2.8 billion annually. There are more than 4.5 million adults on probation or parole in the United States, accounting for nearly 2 percent of the total population. These people face difficult and complicated terms that can easily result in their being incarcerated over technicalities. In at least five states — Utah, Kansas, South Dakota, Kentucky and Missouri — parole and probation violations account for more than half of all prison admissions.

“Oftentimes these technical parole violations, when they result in incarceration, really lead to further crime and further violations,” John Wetzel, who oversees the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, said during a conference call with The Washington Post this week. Imprisonment “severs the pro-social supports that keep individuals sober and safe,” he added. “We eliminate their ability to keep gainful employment.”

Learn more about this issue, as well as efforts to reform parole and probation, here.