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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: November 15, 2017 09:45 AM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Probation Reform for Technical Violations
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation designed to reform our criminal justice system by updating probation policies in the Commonwealth. The purpose of this legislation is to reduce the amount of time and resources devoted to probationers who have completed sentences for past crimes while allowing them to fully re-integrate back into society.

Currently, probation terms can far exceed the original sentence handed down at trial and create indefinite periods during which even a minor violation could result in re-confinement. In many cases, prolonged terms of probation result from technical violations that can perpetually extend the clock on the probation term. Technical violations could range from committing minor traffic offenses to traveling out of state – violations which anyone not on probation could easily incur in the course of life. This is inconsistent with the spirit of the law, which aims to rehabilitate rather than punish offenders.

A number of states across the nation, regardless of rural or urban demographics, have created new frameworks to minimize punishments for technical violations of probation and allow judges to shorten probation time for good behavior. It is time that Pennsylvania join this effort, with consistent terms and fewer punitive conditions for fair probation terms.

This legislation is part of a criminal justice reform package that I will be introducing with my colleagues in the weeks to come, aiming to address the inequities and injustices currently present in our system.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to reform the probation system in Pennsylvania. Any questions or concerns may be directed to my legislative director, Kyle Miller, at 717-787-5970 or kmiller@pasenate.com.

Introduced as SB1067