Probation and Parole

Founded as either an up-front diversion from incarceration (probation) or a back-end release valve to prison crowding (parole), community corrections in the United States has grown far beyond what its founders could have imagined, with a profound, unintended impact on incarceration. With 4.5 million adults under community corrections supervision in America (more than double the number in prison and jail), probation and parole have become a substantial contributor to our nation’s mass incarceration dilemma as well as a deprivation of liberty in their own right.

Through a combination of research, policy development, capacity building, technical assistance, and communications, the Probation and Parole Reform Project at the Justice Lab works to reimagine supervision systems across the United States.

A key component of this work is done through convening Executives Transforming Probation and Parole (EXiT), a group of current and former probation and parole executives who are working to reduce the number of people under supervision, reduce revocations and returns to prison for minor misbehavior, and make community supervision fairer, more helpful, and more reintegrative. Learn more on the EXiT website here.

Resources on Probation and Parole

The Wisconsin Community Corrections Story. Jarred Williams, Vincent Schiraldi, and Kendra Bradner. January 2019.

The Pennsylvania Community Corrections Story. Vincent Schiraldi. April 2018.

Too Big to Succeed: The impact of the growth of community corrections and what should be done about it. January 2018.

        Watch a recording of the paper release event: YouTube

Less is More in New York: An Examination of the Impact of State Parole Violations on Prison and Jail Populations. Vincent Schiraldi and Jennifer Arzu. January 2018.

          Watch a recording of the paper release event: YouTube

Less Is More: How Reducing Probation Populations Can Improve Outcomes. Michael P. Jacobson, Vincent Schiraldi, Reagan Daly, and Emily Hotez. August 2017. 

Statement on the Future of Community Corrections. August 2017.

Toward an Approach to Community Corrections for the 21st Century. Executive Session on Community Corrections. July 2017.

How Probation Limbo Can Crush The Promise Of A Fresh Start. Law 360, January 26, 2020. Matt Fair.

Black West Baltimore Is Still Waiting for Equity. Talk Poverty, January 14, 2020. Cristina Maza.

Awakening to a Mass-Supervision Crisis. The Atlantic, December 26, 2019. Priscilla A. Ocen.

Notes On Probation and Parole from New York City. Right on Crime, December 19, 2019. Scott Peyton.

Can we please talk about probation and parole? Supervision programs are throwing people back behind bars for technical violations. NY Daily News, December 10, 2020. Barbara Broderick and Vincent Schiraldi.

Changing the Culture of Community Supervision. The Crime Report, December 10, 2019. Isidoro Rodriguez.

As Parole Drives Incarceration, Can NY’s Bar Spur Reforms? Law 360, December 8, 2019. RJ Vogt. 

Prepping for Parole. The New Yorker, November 25, 2019. Jennifer Gonnerman.

How to End the Era of Mass Incarceration. The Chronicle of Social Change, September 30, 2019. David Muhammad and Vincent Schiraldi.

Why Probation and Parole May Need A Reboot. Law 360, September 29, 2019. RJ Vogt.

10 Probation Agencies Chosen to Lead Initiative to 'Transform' Community Supervision. The Crime Report, September 24, 2019. TCR Staff.

Locking up parolees for minor infractions costs city $190 million per year: report. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 27, 2019. David Brand and Noah Goldberg.

CNN’s Van Jones, Probation and Parole Leaders Endorse Call to Reduce and Reimagine Supervision. The Chronicle of Social Change, August 19, 2019. Jeremy Loudenback.

Mass. Probation Commissioner Joins National Effort To Reform Court-Ordered Supervision. WBur News, August 19, 2019. Deborah Becker.

OPINION: ‘You are still a slave’: How ‘reforms’ expand our racially unjust ‘criminal justice’ system. Milwaukee NNS, July 30, 2019. Barbara Miner and Dr. Robert Smith.

Unlock The Vote: A Call For Inclusion and Equity. Madison 365, July 30, 2019. State Sen. Lena Taylor. 

Why Offenders In Wisconsin Go Back To Prison Without Committing New Crimes. WisContext, July 1, 2019. Izabela Zaluska, Wisconsin Watch. 

What Do Abolitionists Really Want? The Marshall Project, June 13, 2019. Bill Keller. 

"End the tyranny of parole violations." New York Daily News, June 13, 2019. Vincent Schiraldi.

New York’s crushing parole system snags an activist, deacon and mentor. The Washington Post, May 23, 2019. Radley Balko.

The travesty of parole in New York. Crain's New York, May 1, 2019. Vincent Schiraldi, Vanda Seward and Michael P. Jacobson.

He was shot in the back alongside Nipsey Hussle. Then he found out he’d violated parole. Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2019. David Muhammad and Vincent Schiraldi.

Commentary: Supporting parole reform. Times Union, April 20, 2019. Jonathan Lippman, David Soares and Vincent Schiraldi.

Lock the parole-prison revolving door: Rethink a system that's sending far too many people away for minor violations. New York Daily News, February 10, 2019. Jonathan Lippman and Vincent Schiraldi.

Wisconsin must close Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility to reform criminal justice. The Cap Times, January 24, 2019. DeAnna Hoskins and Vincent Schiraldi.

What would the end of mass incarceration look like? Crain's New York, December 27, 2018. Vincent Schiraldi.

"Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration." New Yorker, October 29, 2018. Jennifer Gonnerman.

Revoking Parole for Marijuana Use Makes No Sense. NYT Opinion, October 25, 2018. Vincent Schiraldi.

Five Ex-NYC Commissioners Call for End to Pot Testing of Probationers. The Crime Report, October 16, 2018. TCR Staff.

Five former probation commissioners urge officials to stop testing parolees for marijuana. New York Daily News, October 16, 2018. Reuven Blau.

Jealous plan to further reduce Md. prison population: sound strategy. The Baltimore Sun, September 09, 2018. Marc Schindler and Vincent Schiraldi. 

Parole and probation have grown far beyond resources allocated to support them. The Conversation, August 16, 2018. Vincent Schraldi.

Williams urges Senate to end “America’s terrible experimentPhiladelphia Tribune, June 1, 2018. Louis Bolling.

Larry Krasner: Time to rethink probation and parolePhiladelphia Inquirer, May 25 2018. Miriam Krinsky and DA Larry Krasner.

Statement on the future of community supervision; DA Krasner, Columbia University researcher Vincent Schiraldi discuss Pa.’s excessive probation and parole rates. May 17, 2018. Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Meek Mill's not alone. Study finds 'indefensible' overuse of probation, parole in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia Inquirer, April 25, 2018. Samantha Melamed.

The chances New York's parolees deserve. New York Daily News, April 20, 2018. NYDN Editorial Board.

Why should we keep murderers in prison until they die? Parole makes moral sense, even for cop-killers. New York Daily News, March 20, 2018. Bruce Western and Bernard Harcourt.

The Recidivism Trap. The Marshall Project, March 14, 2018. Vincent Schiraldi and Jeffrey A. Butts.

"Beyond #CLOSErikers: Why Reforming Probation & Parole Is Necessary, Too. [link to livestream recording]." March 7, 2018. Office of Professional Education at Columbia School of Social Work, the Columbia Justice Lab, and the Criminal Justice Caucus.

Avoiding the Prison-To-Shelter Pipeline: A Path to Life on the Outside. NY1, March 6 2018. Inside City Hall.

Justice Lab's Vincent Schiraldi Proposes Reforms to Probation, ParoleColumbia News, February 23, 2018. Bridget O’Brian & Vincent Schiraldi.

The Problem With ParoleNew York Times, February 11, 2018. Editorial Board.

Probation and Parole and Mass IncarcerationBrian Lehrer Show with Vincent Schiraldi and Tom Zwillich, February 6, 2018. WNYC.

Criminal justice reforms empty cells, parole fills them up againNew York Times, February 2, 2018. Ginia Bellafante.

Probation and Parole ProposalsNY 1, February 1, 2018. Inside City Hall.

Top Officials Call for 50% Cut in Probation, ParoleThe Crime Report, January 29, 2018.  TCR Staff.

Radically Reforming America's Parole and Probation Systems. The Takeaway, January 29 2018. WNYC.

Reports: Changes needed to parole and probation system. Associated Press, January 29, 2018. David Klepper.

A probation explosion keeps too many chained. New York Daily News, January 29, 2018. Vincent Schiraldi.