criminal justice reform
A bipartisan bill proposal could help end what its sponsors consider a "perpetual state" of probation and parole violations that keeps many formerly incarcerated citizens trapped within the correctional system, The Hill reports.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Jordan Harris (D) teamed up with colleague Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R), as well as rapper Meek Mill's Reform Alliance, which initially proposed the bill, last month to introduce the bill. If passed and signed, it would eliminate consecutive probation sentences and prohibit probation extensions over the nonpayment of fines and costs. Harris told The Hill that judges can currently extend probation parole times indefinitely, leading to the aforementioned perpetual state.
"Probation and parole is like the quicksand of the criminal justice system," he said. "The moment that you get in, it's hard to get out."
Delozier, the bill's lead sponsor, added that the bill would also allow former inmates more flexibility, mentioning, for example, that a parolee would be able to work with his or her parole officer to reschedule parole meetings for things like job interviews. That doesn't mean there won't be consequences if someone does break the rules of their probation, Delozier said, but "the flexibility does need to be there."
Pennsylvania has the second-highest rate of citizens on probation or parole in the U.S. Read more at The Hill.