Overloaded Officers, Lengthy Probation Sentences Plague State Criminal Justice System

Dec 16, 2015

About one in every 35 adults in Rhode Island was on probation last year. That according to an initial report from the working group focused on overhauling Rhode Island’s criminal justice system.

The Justice Reinvestment Working Group has released legislative recommendations for reducing the number of people in the system, and easing the high associated costs. The group found rates of probation sentencing far outpace the resources available to manage them.

Officers are often expected to deal with some 150 probation cases at a time; leaving little time for meaningful supervision according to the report. As a result failure rates are high.

The report found that nearly a third of all prisoners on any given day at the ACI are probation violators.

The group recommends changes that include deeper research into defendants’ backgrounds before court appearances, shorter probation sentences, and the hiring of more probation officers. They also recommend technology updates, such as computerized records.

The report says the implementation of these changes could even eventually save the state an estimated $3.8 million.

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