Federal Supervised Release Is a Wasteful Mess. A Bipartisan Bill in Congress Is Trying To Fix That.

Source: reason.com 6/4/24

When Daniel Brown was released early from federal prison in 2020, 15 years into a 42-year sentence for drug and firearm possession offenses, he was determined not to squander the chance he had been given.

By most outward measures, he’s accomplished that. He’s stayed out of trouble. He’s a project manager at a construction company and married with children.

But like the vast majority of people convicted of a federal offense, Brown was also sentenced to supervision following his release, 10 years of it. That means that he’s subject to numerous rules and monitoring by federal probation officers: random drug tests, restrictions on travel, and required pre-approval for basic adult freedoms.

When it was created in 1984, federal supervised release was supposed to be used sparingly to keep tabs on offenders who were public safety concerns or needed extra support to transition back into society. However, it’s become used by default, and both criminal justice advocates and federal probation officers say it’s clogging the system with thousands of people, like Brown, who have demonstrated that they probably don’t need to be in it anymore. And it’s sending many others back to prison for minor rule violations that might not warrant such a harsh response.

This growing consensus has led to the Safer Supervision Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Chris Coons (D–Del.) and John Cornyn (T–Texas). Reps. Wesley Hunt (R–Texas) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D–Texas) have introduced a companion bill in the House. The legislation would streamline the federal supervised release system to give people like Brown a clear off-ramp to earn their way out.

“I think we’re a lot better off supervising a sex offender, a terrorist, someone convicted of plotting a murder or something,…

 

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Why not an addendum outlawing the application of lifetime parole for State convictions? Who’s going to tackle the illegalization of lifetime parole being dolled out like candy upon sentencing? Of course there would be an exception for sex offenses, just as there will be an exception here before anything is done, so I don’t know why this is even news. Everyone knows sex offenses always get excepted to any punitive relief.

So let the people convicted of drug offenses (with 70 – 80% recidivism) off supervision early and over-monitor the people convicted of a sex offense and people convicted of murder (with <5%). Makes perfect Washington sense.

Does that apply to people who are currently on Supervised Release? I’m on Federal Lifetime Supervised Release for non-production CP charges – which believe it or not happens quite a bit for guys with CP charges.

” I think we are better off supervising sex offenders, terrorists, those convicted of plotting a murder..”
I know that registrants are not sex offenders and are likely to follow the rules by their parole/probation officers.

What is the most cynical, Machiavellian interpretation of this I can come up with… How about this…I offer this to you as a cautionary fiction, of a possible dystopian future…

It would seem, I speculate, that Supervised Release has finally gotten so expensive, it needs to be curtailed. The actual supervision, I further speculate, isn’t the problem, it’s all the prison space and money it eats up that’s the problem. If it actually worked, it would probably be ok… but they have turned it into a minefield of reincarnation that is virtually unnavigable for far too many.

Thus the political gold gained by sending this person or that person back to prison, is no longer worth the actual gold that that costs. Also, the ‘Good ol Days” of ” Just cram them in!” approach to prison overcrowding aren’t as reliable as they used to be. “Shove harder!” isn’t always the fix all it used to be, all the time.

Consequently, valuable Prison Space must, as often as possible, be reserved only for the most politically valuable victims. Every square inch of the Prison Gold Mines, must produce Political Gold of at least equal value to the actual gold cost of maintaining it. This is messing with that!

No way the guy in this story turns into a goose that lays Political Golden Eggs equal to the costs of keeping him! Gotta let that goose go, so you have room for more productive geese! If he was the only one, ok, but this disaster of a system does this all the time! Eating up prescious Gold Mine space with Silly Geese, instead of Gold egg laying ones!!! Can’t have that, have to “fix it”.

However, they must “Fix this” without opening the door to suggestions that they are not, “Psychotically Vindictive on Crime”…. can’t have that either. So the Reich and the Vichycrats, will horse trade which geese shall occupy the valuable gold mine space… each side attempting to ensure that they will be the primary beneficiaries of all Political Golden Eggs laid.

Obviously, PFRs are reliability some of the most dependable producers of Political Golden Eggs… so their will be no need to horse trade there. Obviously, there will also be universal agreement that, once the system is streamlined into a more profitable version, more should be done to ensure there will always be the maximum number of Super Producer PFRs in the gold mines, as possible at all times. As many as possible, for as long as possible, at all times.

So dependable are PFR eggs, that we have an entire system of Shadow Gold Mines reserved just for Super Producing PFRs! So, I suspect, there will be enthusiastic agreement that much, if not all, of the savings this fat trimming will produce should be redirected into the PFR Shadow Gold Mines! Stop locking up any more silly geese like the guy in this story, use that money more productively by locking up more PFRs in the Shadow Gold Mine system, where you can be sure they will remain until they die!

Free up even more money, by simply transferring these valuable geese from the regular gold mines, to the Shadow Gold Mines, directly! Even better, send the most valuable PFR geese to the Shadow Gold Mines right from the start! Yes, just fabricate some justification…. demand that it is divinely perfect, then use that as your excuse to send as many PFR super producers directly to the Shadow Gold Mines until they die!

Here’s an idea… offer this plea bargain…
Option #1: You agree to go to the Shadow Gold Mine for as long as we feel is necessary.
Option #2: We go to trial, you lose, you go to the regular gold mine for a few years, then off to the Shadow mine… until we feel it is safe to let you go.

You think you can win at trial eh? Did I mention that, The State feels it is reasonable to presume that you are a relentless Sexual Predator, and that remains true even if you win your case? Turns out we don’t need to convict you to pretend this is real, also doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t… the courts will presume that it is, forever.

As such, The State feels it is reasonable to place you in our Shadow Gold Mine system, untill you can prove to us that you are no longer a danger… which will be proven the moment we need to free up the space you occupy so we can use it for a more valuable Super Producer.

Oh, we just used the Supervised Release streamlining to free up a bunch of money to expand the Shadow System… so could be a few decades before we are worried about space…. just so you know.

Still feeling lucky?

TADA, ultimate goal of American Justice achieved…guilty by decree, with automatic defacto life sentences! Not actual life sentences, defacto ones that allow you to keep people as long as you want, but no longer. That way you can ensure that the system is always producing the maximum amount of political gold possible at all times!

No way any of this could ever be true, Right?