Justice officials are recognizing that community supervision can be a tripwire that perpetuates incarceration based on crimeless technical violations
Miriam Aroni Krinsky and Vincent Schiraldi
One of the first people to die of COVID-19 in New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail system was Raymond Rivera — a 55-year-old father and husband who lost his life in April. The “offense” that ultimately resulted in a death sentence for Rivera? Leaving a drug program without permission — a minor technical violation of the parole he was on for stealing a motorcycle cover and some bicycles.
There’s a common misconception that probation and parole — sometimes called community supervision — are more lenient alternatives to incarceration. But justice officials are recognizing that community supervision can be a tripwire that perpetuates incarceration based on crimeless technical violations like the one that resulted in Rivera’s incarceration and, ultimately, death.
That’s why more than 50 reform-minded elected prosecutors have joined 90 current and former probation and parole leaders this week in issuing a statement calling for eliminating incarceration for technical parole and probation violations, reducing reincarceration for low-level new offenses by those under supervision, downsizing probation and parole, and making supervision remains “less punitive and more hopeful, equitable and restorative.”