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  • Changes in Sentencing Policy Raise Pressure on Probation Officers

    Wall Street Journal - 07/05/2016

    Overhauling the criminal-justice system, including shorter sentences, is a hot topic in Washington, with some Democrats and Republicans increasingly coalescing behind a view that incarceration times have gotten too long.

    Even before any major bills have passed, however, federal officials have begun chipping away at sentences. Since 2010, 14,100 people have been freed early because of changes in sentencing law and policies, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and the federal probation case load has increased 7% since 2010. In the same period, the budget of the U.S. Office of Probation and Pretrial Services Office rose 0.5%, to $902 million.

    Jack Levin, co-director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict at Northeastern University in Boston, said the releases mean officers “will have larger case loads that probably will reduce their effectiveness to some degree.” He added, however, that it “does not mean that we’re going to see a precipitous crime wave in this country. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”



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