Probation | Probation Revocation

Idaho's misdemeanor probation systems may violate state Constitution

BY Jon Mosher on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 2:57 PM

The October 12, 2011 Idaho Statesman reports that Idaho’s misdemeanor probation system may have been operating illegally for almost two decades.  People placed on probation for felony offenses are supervised by the State Board of Correction.  But each of Idaho’s 44 counties decide for themselves how to supervise people on probation for misdemeanors.  Thirty-eight of the counties operate their own misdemeanor probation programs, one county has no program at all, and five counties contract with a private for-profit company to provide services.  A recently filed class-action lawsuit challenged the private contract program in Ada County, which includes the state capital Boise, alleging that probationers are being charged higher fees than allowed by state law and are being subjected to conditions that were not part of their sentence.  Of even greater concern to County Commissioners throughout the state is an August 15 memo from Sara Thomas, chief of the Idaho State Appellate Defender’s appellate unit.  Thomas’ memo concludes that Idaho’s Constitution requires all people on probation to be supervised by the State Board of Corrections and that the legislature has never had authority to put counties in charge of adult misdemeanor probation programs.  

Ohio's Chief Justice calls for reform of probation system

BY Jon Mosher on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 11:20 AM

An Associated Press story today notes the counter-productive consequences of disproportionate sentences on low-risk, non-violent offenders. By "exposing them to harsher probationary terms than they require" and "removing minor offenders from their communities, families and jobs makes it much more likely they'll commit more crimes and go back to prison." In the face of Ohio's ongoing budget woes, the state's chief justice says now is the time for sentencing reform.