Report: “Mass Supervision” Driving Mass Incarceration

Source: prisonlegalnews.org 11/15/23

A May 2023 report by Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) counts nearly 3.7 million Americans on probation or parole – nearly twice the nation’s total imprisoned population. This “mass supervision” brings the total number under control of the nation’s criminal justice system to about 5.5 million people – over 2,100 of every 100,000 citizens aged 18 and over.

While touted as alternatives to incarceration, probation and parole do not operate apart from it – in fact, they often end up driving it. Violations of probation and parole accounted for 42% of state prison admissions in 2020, according to the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center.

The number of people on probation – released before the end of a prison sentence – peaked in 2007 and has been trending downward since, driven largely by huge drops in two of the country’s largest states, California and Pennsylvania. By contrast, the number of people on parole, which involves supervision after release, has been growing and now accounts for almost 22% of all those under supervision.

Counting the population under mass supervision along with mass incarceration has an equalizing effect between states; the share under control of all parts of the criminal justice system in Rhode Island – 1,918 of every 100,000 citizens – is almost identical to Louisiana’s 1,953, even though the latter has an incarceration rate nearly five times higher.

If supervision represented only an alternative to incarceration, that would be a good thing. But the PPI report notes that probation and parole end up “widening the net,” putting a larger share of the population under control of the criminal justice system. See: Punishment Beyond Prisons 2023, PPI (May 2023).

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When I was on probation, and was forced to wear an ankle monitor, the entire time, 3 years, I knew from day one the department would stop at nothing to put me back in jail. Then my officer the one who happens to be in another county now would just go down the list of restrictions, actively trying to violate me.

Another article where the data brings out the “Duh” when reviewed and espoused logically with no bias intended. You can still “incarcerate” the population on their own ground with technology tracking them and no need to provide 3 hots and a cot in a concrete bldg while holding them accountable to levels unnecessary overall. Our country gets off on this fascination of heavy handedness in the name of power hungry idiots who want to be tough on crime and keep skeletons in their closet.

I am always in awe to see that America is almost proud to have so many incarcerated people. In reality, it is an embarrassment, showing the rest of the world that the US must be doing something wrong. It is like a whole class failing math class. It obviously is not the students’ fault but rather the teacher’s. The US has to get their act together and stop incarcerating people at a rate that is unheard of in the rest of the World. The US only has 5% of the world’s population but incarcerates 25% of the world’s prisoners. Embarrassing. If something does not work, stop repeating those mistakes! The rest of the world is laughing, but it’s not funny for those affected. Especially for the PFR group that has to endure punishment for life, decades after they have served their time and paid their dues. Just hearing stories about how they are treated during compliance checks or secondary at the airport. It is a shame, and should no longer be tolerated.

Supervision drives incarceration. Probation and parole drive incarceration, while acting as an alternative. Send more like giving the State more options on who, and when they lock up.

Number one reason for PFR arrests, FTR. It has been the number one reason for PFR arrest, changes, convictions, and reincarceration. More PFRs are arrested for FTR than all our reasons combined. Not new SOs, never has been. Not other categories of crimes. Since the introduction of the Registry, and the concept of FTR, it has been and still is number one with a bullet. The invented crime that PFRs are uniquely held accountable for.

Just one of the many ways the registry is counterproductive. The registry, allegedly, is a means to keep people from going back to prison/jail, yet is the biggest reason people on the registry go back to prison/jail.

I’ve thought for years that the average PO was merely a low level civil servant with a God complex. Since being on probation, I’ve found that was not entirely true. Most are failed cops, police academy washouts, and/or relatives of court officials. Recently, I’ve had to add cop wannabes that can’t meet the physical fitness requirements that many (if not all) law enforcement organizations require these days.

It shouldn’t (but probably does) surprise that more parolees are on the street and more probationers are being incarcerated. Parolees are under DOC supervision, and prison population is very important to them. Probationers are under court supervision, who couldn’t care less about prison population if they tried. Those with sex crime convictions are favorites of both, either when they want to revoke or for their own amusement.