‘We’re Talking About Access to Justice’: 8 Key Quotes From the 2020 Innovations Conference
Panel: Community Supervision: Long-Term Reform And Short-Term Responses (Sponsored by R Street Institute)
Arthur Rizer, R Street Institute
The history of community supervision in the United States is fascinating. It was designed as a safety valve to ensure people weren’t being overly incarcerated. It’s original purpose was of a more humane treatment. The theory was you could have better treatment in your community and we shouldn’t incarcerate people we don’t need to incarcerate. You go back far enough, when this country was founded, the sentence for stealing a horse? The death penalty. The sentence for killing someone? The death penalty. We have gradually become more humane in the way we punish, but you’ll see in history it’s kind of an up and down proposition. We create prison as an alternative to cutting off your arm or a death sentence, and then we institute community supervision as a way to help alleviate how many people were going to prison. There is always a downside, that we over-supervise and people are on probation for a longer time.