1932

Abstract

Use of probation and parole has declined since its peak in 2007 but still intrudes into the lives of 3.9 million Americans at a scale deemed mass supervision. Originally intended as an alternative to incarceration and a means of rehabilitation for those who have committed crimes, supervision often functions as a trip wire for further criminal legal system contact. This review questions the utility of supervision, as research shows that, in toto, it currently provides neither diversion from incarceration nor rehabilitation. Analysis of national supervision, crime, and carceral data since 1980 reveals that supervision has little effect on future crime and is not a replacement for incarceration. Case studies from California and New York City indicate that concerted efforts to reduce the scope of mass supervision can effectively be achieved through sentencing reform, case diversion, and supervisory/legal system department policy change, among other factors, without increasing crime. Therefore, we suggest extensive downsizing of supervision or experimentation with its abolition and offer actionable steps to enact each possibility.

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2023-01-27
2024-04-22
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