March 21, 2019, Ryan Briggs, WHYY
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is moving to end the practice of seeking lengthy probation and parole sentences for many people in the city’s criminal justice system, a system he referred to as “mass supervision” –– the “evil twin” of mass incarceration.
At a Thursday press conference, the defense attorney-turned-reformist prosecutor said his office would seek to limit the length of these sentences to 12 months for misdemeanors and three years for felonies, except in instances where state law mandates a longer term.
“This new policy is about expanding individual justice because it’s wrong to keep a parolee trapped in a system that overwhelmingly hurts the poor and people of color, facilities recidivism, breaks up families, and keeps individuals from finding a job,” Krasner said.
Roughly 42,000 people are currently under supervision by Philadelphia’s court system, a population nearly four times larger than in New York City. The city’s probation office is chronically short-staffed, with caseloads of more than 150 clients per officer.