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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2019 09:49 AM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams and Sen. Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Comprehensive Probation Reform
In the near future, we will be introducing bipartisan 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.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation to reform the probation system in Pennsylvania. Any questions or concerns may be directed to Senator Williams’ legislative office at 717-787-5970 or Senator Bartolotta’s legislative office at 717-787-1463.

Introduced as SB14