We, the undersigned, call for an end to the practice of sending people to prison for technical violations of parole. A technical violation is a minor violation of parole that is not a new misdemeanor or felony crime but can include driving a car, being late to an appointment, going on social media, losing a job or housing, testing positive for alcohol or marijuana, and other petty non-crimes.
This is particularly egregious in Intensive Supervised Release (ISR), the most intensive and least successful parole in Minnesota where every movement must be monitored and communicated. Many claim that to them, ISR is worse than prison. According to a study at Columbia University, 48% of Minnesotans who go on parole end up back in prison. Nearly 90% of those are technical violations. When will we see the setup for what it is?
Nor should the public bear the social or financial harm of officials failing our neighbors. According to the Vera Institute the cost of incarcerating someone in MN is $41,366 per person/per year. This last year the MN DOC sent 2,986 people to prison for technical violations, 36.4% of prison admissions in 2018. The same money could have paid for their college or housing down payments.
Why are we sending people to prison for minor violations instead of supporting people to re-enter society to thrive for themselves and the community around them? We want the County and State to start practicing justice immediately, and we gather to demand it.
Specifically we demand:1. An end to the practice of incarcerating people for technical violations - no one should be sent to prison for petty violations of parole2. The abolition of Intensive Supervised Release program (ISR) - a key driver of technical violations3. The immediate release all prisoners in MN prisons due to technical violations - nearly 3,000 people this year - and reinvest that money in those directly impacted by the prison system
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