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Probation Reform Bill is Smart on Crime, Breaks Barriers for Minnesotans

Feb 12, 2019 by AFP

ST. PAUL, MN – Americans for Prosperity-Minnesota (AFP-MN) today urged members of the House Public Safety Committee to support HF689, which reforms and standardizes the length of probation across the state. More importantly, it allows courts to discharge defendants from probation early, apart from murder and criminal sex offenses, which retain the maximum sentences.

The grassroots group sent a letter to the committee and testified in support of HF689. AFP-MN believes our criminal justice system should rehabilitate people who are incarcerated and provide second chances to those who have paid their debt to society.

View Letter Here

“This bill is an important step towards reforming our criminal justice system to protect people and preserve public safety, while removing barriers to opportunity for people with criminal records. Giving courts the flexibility to release people from probation once they’ve shown themselves to be adequately reformed will help us focus our limited resources on higher-risk defendants,” said Jason Flohrs, AFP-MN State Director. “Getting smarter on crime will help make our communities safer, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer dollars from needless incarceration. We urge the House Public Safety Committee to seize this opportunity to help individuals become productive members of our communities by advancing this bill.”

Background:

Pew Research found 37 states experienced simultaneous drops in their community corrections (i.e. probationers/parolees) and crime rates from 2007 to 2016. Moreover, Pew found that at the end of 2016, 8 in 10 probationers and two-thirds of parolees had been sentenced for nonviolent crimes.

Technical violations of probation, like missing a meeting with the probation officer, failing a drug test, or leaving your county without authorization, are a leading cause of prison admissions. Removing people off probation who don’t need to be on it in the first place and better helping those who remain incarcerated succeed is both a cost-savings boon by avoiding needless expensive incarceration and a public safety win by helping reduce recidivism.