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10/22/2021 12:38 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20210&cosponId=36245
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: September 23, 2021 03:35 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Reissuance of 6/28/21 memo for Remote Probation Meetings; adding a second bill
 
In our efforts to reduce incarceration and reform sentencing, a prominent challenge is Pennsylvania remains among the states with the highest number of people on probation or parole.  The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing found that almost 88% of the studied probation cases in which a probationer was resentenced involved a technical violation of probation (conditions of probation include meeting with a probation officer, maintaining a job, meeting family obligations, complying with curfew, etc.). 

Based on our experience during the pandemic, we should explore the possibility that remote meetings could alleviate legitimate scheduling problems that otherwise end in technical violations.   Many probation offices already allow for remote meetings.  Most probation officers already consider work and other factors when scheduling meetings. 

I plan to shortly introduce legislation to encourage the development of policies within probation offices to expand opportunities for remote meetings when appropriate.  This is not an inflexible mandate.  Unless the policy states otherwise, a probation officer would continue to be free to insist on in-person meetings, to hold unannounced meetings, or to schedule meetings at times that the probation officer deems necessary. 

Upon further consultation with the Legislative Reference Bureau, a second bill is suggested to clarify the recommendations and standards of the circumstances that shall be considered when making scheduling decisions for probation meetings. 

The concept remains the same as expressed in the June 28, 2021 co-sponsorship memo, but it will now be a two-bill package.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation.



Document #1

Introduced as SB904

Description: Bill #1 Remote Meetings
 

Document #2

Introduced as SB905

Description: Bill #2 Scheduling Standards