Parole and Probation Officials Offer Urgent Recommendations on COVID-19

March 18, 2020

More than 40 current and former probation and parole executives from across the country, as well as The National Association of Probation Executives, released a statement today providing guidance to limit the threat of coronavirus. The statement is the first attempt by corrections officials across jurisdictions to limit the impact of coronavirus on the U.S. through correctional population reduction measures. 

In this time of national concern over the spread of COVID-19, the undersigned probation and parole executives and associations offer the following guidance and recommendations to (1) utilize social distancing to reduce the unnecessary and inadvertent spread of the coronavirus through community supervision, while (2) continuing to support persons under supervision and assure public safety.

People under correctional control are especially medically vulnerable. They disproportionately suffer from heart conditions, tuberculosis, HIV and diabetes, among other medical vulnerabilities. Further, outbreaks of contagious diseases in correctional facilities could lead to the infection of staff, incarcerated people and family members and could negatively impact staffing patterns, rendering such facilities more difficult to operate in a safe and healthy manner. Since approximately 11 million people churn through prisons and jails every year, if infectious diseases are spread inside correctional facilities, they have an elevated potential to affect community health. Finally, the millions of people visiting probation and parole offices are similarly medically vulnerable, putting our staff and one another at heightened risk of becoming infected.

With 4.5 million people on probation and parole nationally, there are more people under supervision than is necessary from a public safety standpoint. Too many people are placed under supervision who pose little public safety risk and are supervised for excessive supervision periods beyond what is indicated by best practices. This stretches probation and parole resources; hampers our ability to assist and supervise those most in need; and ultimately contributes to the revocation and incarceration of people for technical, non-criminal violations, like missing appointments and substance use.

To read the entire press release, click below:

Press release from EXiT: Executives Transforming Probation on the importance of using best practices during the COVID-19 public health crisis.