Guilty by association: When parole and probation rules disrupt support systems

Source: 11/8/23

Requiring people on supervision to avoid others with criminal legal system contact can actually hinder their success in the community. We found that it’s common for probation and parole agencies to impose these “association” restrictions, tearing apart critical social networks and threatening to lock people up for harmless — and even helpful — interactions.

For the 3.7 million people on parole or probation in the United States, the very people who can best support their success are often unable to help because of supervision conditions that prohibit them from being in contact. Individuals reentering their communities on probation or parole often rely on support networks of family and peers who have been through similar reentry experiences.

Though research supports the unique benefits of these social connections, many states actually prohibit people on supervision from this contact, under the false assumption that it will lead people into criminalized behaviors. These “association” restrictions — sometimes called “no-association conditions” — are isolating and costly to those on supervision. And the stakes are high: Failure to follow association restrictions can result in incarceration.

In prior work on probation and parole, we’ve referred to more widely known, difficult-to-satisfy supervision conditions — like securing employment and paying relentless fees— as examples of why supervision doesn’t “work” for so many people and too often results in incarceration for “technical” violations. In this briefing, we add to this work by compiling the most thorough research and data on association restrictions to date. We show that, despite their illogical foundations and documented harms, they are imposed on hundreds of thousands of people (and impact many others) at any given time. If states and local jurisdictions truly want people on supervision to succeed, they should acknowledge and ultimately abandon association restrictions.

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Interesting article. This quote stands out for me:

If states and local jurisdictions truly want people on supervision to succeed, they should acknowledge and ultimately abandon association restrictions.

I always maintain the position that the states and local jurisdictions want people (or, more precisely, registrants) on supervision to fail…disastrously. There seems to be something to gain from that failure.

I believe observation and available data supports my conclusion. If their *true* goal was the success/integration of individuals on supervision, then most (if not all) of their current efforts and policies/restrictions are aggressively sabotaging that goal…to me, that would appear to be irrational and/or contradictory, whereas if their true goal is the total destruction/domination of those on supervision (as well as their associates and family), and increasing control over the population at large, then everything the states and local jurisdictions are doing to further that goal makes perfect sense.

Last edited 20 days ago by nameless

Our families loved one is in a STOP program housing in California. He is sharing a house with 6 other…[People Forced to Register]. But his parole powers told him he is not to walk with any of his house mates, get a cup of coffee, go to a restaurant, do anything outside of the property except for mandatory therapy. Also, if one of them gets employed at a gas station, Home Depot….they cannot recommend any of the house mates to work there, per parole officers. I don’t know if this is true for everyone on parole but our… [loved one] was informed by his PO that they don’t allow it due to public safety. POs justification was that 2 fellow…[Persons Forced to Register] on parole 8 years back teamed up and committed crimes in Orange County, CA. That is horrible but 2… [people] out of how many on parole at that time justifies that position? Whether or not, it is counter intuitive for rehabilitation which is what CDCR Parole is supposed to be working towards.