On Tuesday, May 23, 2023 we released a new groundbreaking report with the Prison Policy Initiative titled “Excessive, unjust, and expensive: Fixing Connecticut’s probation and parole problems.” It focuses on how the system of community supervision in Connecticut — probation, parole in all its various types — too often becomes a revolving door for people who get stuck in the system.
In Connecticut today, nearly 35,000 people are under probation or parole. Of that number, more than 30,000 people in statewide – almost 1% of the entire population — are on probation in our state. That’s nearly three times the number of people incarcerated in Connecticut.
Noncriminal “technical” violations of probation and parole — like missing a curfew or testing positive for alcohol or other drug use — are known drivers of incarceration in Connecticut, putting thousands of people in cages every year. Over one-third of prison admissions statewide are the result of people on parole being re-incarcerated – a significant number of them for noncriminal technical violations. Even people merely accused of supervision violations are thrown behind bars, and the vast majority lose their jobs as a result. This practice is also ripe with racial inequity as people of color are disproportionately on probation and parole.
To reform Connecticut’s probation and parole systems and address overly punitive responses to violation of supervision, this report provides four comprehensive reforms that have proven successful in other states across the country.
Here are the four recommendations to make Connecticut’s community supervision system more effective, just and equitable:
- Restrict the use of incarceration for verified noncriminal “technical” violations.
- Eliminate automatic detention for noncriminal “technical” violations.
- Apply earned time credit to supervision sentences.
- Bolster due process.