Parole Process: gateway to freedom or pathway to persecution?

A lawsuit in Missouri has kicked up some dust from the unregulated practices involved within the parole process. Personally, I was stunned to read that ‘About 19 percent of the 600,000 people entering the nation’s prisons in 2016 were there for violating their parole, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.’ Specifically I was surprised that the grand majority of folks imprisoned for parole violations had not reoffended, per se. Rather, they had been taken back into custody due to events such as missing appointments, failing to have stable housing, or missing curfew.

The article goes on to explain how many folks who are taken back into custody due to a violation of parole or probation are often pressured to waive hearings, does not provide them access to an attorney in a timely way, and in many cases do not even accurately inform the accused of their violation!

My final point referencing content in the article sits on basic access to health services, both mental and physical health. At a critical rate, the prison industrial complex is being used as a substitute for mental health services, as well as a substance recovery ward. As a society, we are looking at this all wrong. It’s like giving me a bandaid to fix a shattered tibia; my tibia will never heal unless the shattered bone is cared for.

Click here to read “Want to Shrink the Prison Population? Look at Parole.”