Breaking the Link Between Community Supervision and Mass Incarceration

By Lauren Gill, Arnold Ventures | September 15, 2021

Stoneleigh Fellow Sangeeta Prasad spoke to Arnold Ventures about how community supervision can drive mass incarceration.

Nicole Wisen spent 17 months in an Atlanta jail for borrowing jewelry from her friend.

A judge sent Grace to a juvenile detention center for not completing her schoolwork.

Sean Worsley, an Iraq War veteran, was sentenced to 60 months in an Alabama prison for possessing marijuana to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

These stories may seem like worst-case scenarios or outliers in the criminal legal system. But they are far from aberrations. Things like missing a check-in with a supervision officer, being in the presence of someone — even an immediate family member — who has a criminal record, or drinking too much water before a court-mandated drug test all constitute technical violations that can land a person in prison or jail. On any given day, 95,000 people are incarcerated for technical supervision violations — acts of noncompliance with the onerous, often arbitrary rules of supervision that redefine normal, often mundane actions as a form of criminal conduct.

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