According to a statement released by the National Association of Probation Executives and 50 current and former probation and parole executives from across the country, probation and parole agents should “do all [they] can in this crisis to make sure [they are] not inadvertently spreading the COVID-19 virus.”
As the number of South Carolinians infected with COVID-19 continues to grow, it is imperative that the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services (DPPPS) do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the criminal justice system.
We sent a letter today calling on DPPPS Director Jerry Adger to enact the following policies, also recommended by the Vera Institute of Justice:
- Temporarily suspend any incarceration for technical violations of probation or parole.
- Recommend early termination of probation or parole where possible, particularly for those who have already demonstrated compliance with conditions of supervision.
- Wait to schedule revocation hearings until after public health concerns have dissipated if it is determined that the person can remain in the community prior to the hearing.
- Suspend all in-person reporting and check-ins for people under supervision, lengthen reporting intervals, and allow people to connect remotely by phone or videoconference while the pandemic continues.
- Cease enforcement of supervision conditions that constrain a person’s mobility and prohibit them from being able to seek medical care or tend to loved ones.
- Suspend collection of supervision fees indefinitely to accommodate for lost wages and to encourage people in financially precarious situations to observe social distancing. All persons on supervision should be advised that nonpayment would not result in revocation of their supervision or some other sanction.
State and local probation and parole authorities play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and good health of those under community supervision. The time to act is now.