Former New York State Parole Director and New York City Probation Commissioner Martin Horn has proposed abolishing parole supervision and channeling the savings from reduced revocations to provide vouchers for persons on parole to buy their own services and supports.
Horn believes that parole is not particularly good at rehabilitating people on its caseload because parole is about taking risks and government is risk-averse. He reasons that individuals convicted of a new crime during the time they would have been on parole should be given moderate additional punishment, but should not be violated for non-criminal acts.
Give Returning Citizens More Responsibility
By putting programmatic decision-making into the hands of returning citizens, Horn also believes services will flow into the neighborhoods they live in.
Horn’s watershed proposal, and the experience of New York City, force us to ask basic questions about the proper role of government in helping people reacclimate to their communities.
High caseloads, scarce resources and a “trail ‘em, nail ‘em, and jail ‘em” attitude that replaced the Progressive-era’s rehabilitative ethic has rendered community supervision too big, overwhelmed and punitive to succeed.
There is not much evidence that revoking and imprisoning people contributes to public safety or rehabilitation, but we know it has a devastating and disproportionate toll on poor, young men of color. In contrast, recent research by Patrick Sharkey has found that increasing community programs helps improve community safety.”
See more here: https://thecrimereport.org/2019/01/24/do-we-really-need-probation-and-parole/ Learn more about Martin Horn here.
Submitted by Jean Trounstine, Massachusetts activist and author.