U of M Law School's Robina Institute to provide research on major probation and parole initiative

Walter F. Mondale Hall

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) and Pew Charitable Trusts announced a national research and reform effort to make probation and parole systems fairer and more effective.

In partnership with LJAF and Pew, the University of Minnesota's Robina Institute will provide research support to help draft a model for a research-based policy framework. To strengthen this effort, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation is also supporting research partners at the Council of State Governments who will develop a 50-state snapshot of probation and parole revocations to prison, and the Urban Institute and Crime and Justice Institute to evaluate state reforms currently underway.

Although probation and parole populations account for the largest part of the criminal justice system—one in 55 people are currently under supervision in America—they remain largely under-studied. In a co-authored brief released yesterday, LJAF and Pew reveal that although probation and parole systems were intended to be alternatives to incarceration, only half the people under supervision exit successfully—for the other half, failure often leads to jail or prison. Experts at Pew found that a significant number of people on parole and probation are incarcerated due to technical violations, which can include submitting faulty paperwork, missing an appointment, or failing one drug test.

Pew and LJAF have assembled a national advisory group to guide the development of model policies to strengthen community supervision and deliver better public safety results. The advisory group is comprised of leading experts on supervision policy, practitioners from a wide range of agencies and courts, law enforcement, and people directly impacted, among others. Beginning in 2019, Pew will assist a small handful of states with strong leadership and a commitment to data-driven reform to identify policies and practices that can reduce recidivism and improve public safety. Read the complete press release from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

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