The Local Take: Probation Reform With Erin Haney from Reform Alliance
This week on The Local Take, I reached out to Erin Haney from Reform Alliance after hearing her presentation at an Ending Mass Incarceration - Georgia meeting. She spoke about the justice reform challenges in our state. In Georgia, 1 in 14 adults is in the probation/parole spindle back to prison. The national average is 1 in 55. This is actually an improvement from a few years ago. The average length of probation in Georgia is 10 years. The expectation is that you will pay your fines and live a perfect life. This is both improbable and the cause of many people returning to prison. I ask Haney to describe a non-technical violation. She shares that 23% of all prison admissions were for people on probation with a technical violation. This could be receiving a speeding ticket or experiencing temporary homelessness. People are being sent back to prison not for committing a crime but simply for living life.
Reform Alliance would like to incentivize people on parole to get an education or obtain full employment instead of more punitive measures. In other words, we should help people successfully re-enter society instead of making it impossible for them to do so.
Haney mentions that a bill is being created in the Georgia Legislature to correct the challenges and loopholes. She encourages listeners to contact their state representatives about needed reform.