Too big to succeed: The impact of the growth of community corrections and what should be done about it
In this new report, some of the nation’s leading community corrections administrators discuss the consequences of the tremendous growth in probation and parole supervision in the United States over the past several decades. They argue that the number of people under supervision needs to be cut in half. Originally designed as alternatives to incarceration, the authors find that probation and parole are a deprivation of liberty in their own right and have become key drivers of mass incarceration by serving as a trip wire to reincarceration for many of those under supervision. The authors argue that community corrections populations have risen alongside prison and jail populations but that community corrections has not been funded adequately to meet the needs of a population of individuals beset by poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, mental illness and substance use. Since it is highly unlikely that governments will increase funding to probation and parole, the only realistic alternative is to reduce the number of people under community corrections and preserve some of the funds to provide assistance to those who remain under supervision. The paper discusses several examples of jurisdictions that have done so.
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