As a coalition of current and former executives of community supervision agencies and others concerned about mass supervision, we believe that probation and parole should be substantially downsized, less punitive, and more hopeful, equitable, and restorative. We stand for a community supervision system that has a smaller and more focused footprint and values dignity, fairness, race and gender equity, community, and reintegration. We affirm that justice-involved people have inherent value and worth. Our system should provide hope for the future, not a pathway to incarceration.
Probation and parole systems should be less punitive, more effective, and focused solely on the individuals who need support in lieu of confinement in order to keep our communities safe and healthy. Some people do not need supervision to build safe and healthy lives for themselves after an interaction with the justice system.
Probation and parole should promote development and success rather than trying to find failure. As numerous states around the country have already shown, we can significantly reduce the footprint of community supervision while increasing public safety and well-being. Probation and parole should practice procedural justice — treating people under supervision and their families with fairness and dignity. We must support the transformation of our field to focus on supporting people’s success on probation and parole.
Download an overview of EXiT here, and read our Statement on the Future of Probation & Parole in the United States.
How We Work
EXiT members will serve as a resource to the field, engaging in an array of advocacy, policy, and communications activities. We will work alongside fellow executives, people impacted by supervision, survivors of crime, advocates, policymakers, and leaders in other systems to create the transformational changes we believe are necessary for probation and parole. In specific jurisdictions members may provide strategic advice or short-term technical assistance in order to advance reform, fight back against potentially damaging proposals, seed new ideas about what should come next in the field, and develop capacity among current and future leaders to execute bold change.
Why it Matters
Every day in the United States, 4.5 million people are under probation or parole supervision, more than twice as many people as are incarcerated. Originated as a rehabilitative front-end alternative to incarceration (probation) or back-end release valve for incarcerated individuals who were believed to be rehabilitated (parole), community supervision is now overly burdensome, punitive and a driver of mass incarceration, especially for people of color. A quarter of those entering prison in 2017 were incarcerated for technical violations like staying out past curfew or missing appointments, disrupting their lives and costing taxpayers $2.8 billion. Probation and parole have grown far too large because people are being supervised who should not be and are being kept on supervision for far too long. For those under community supervision, it is often too punitive and focused on suppression, surveillance, and control, rather than well-being and growth. Far from being an aid to community reintegration as originally designed, community supervision too often serves as a tripwire to imprisonment.