Number of People on Federal Supervised Release is at a Record High
Date:  02-06-2017

Research shows shortening length of supervised release does not have negative impact on public safety
From The Pew Charitable Trusts:


With nearly 190,000 inmates, the federal prison system is the largest in the nation, far exceeding those of California, Texas, and other states.1 But the reach of federal corrections extends well beyond prison walls. In 2015, approximately 115,000 offenders were serving a period of post-prison community monitoring known as supervised release—nearly three times as many as in 1995. The average time spent under supervision rose 12 percent during that period, to nearly four years. Although post-prison monitoring can be an important correctional tool, research shows that policymakers can maximize limited resources and maintain public safety by reducing the length of supervision for certain offenders and prioritizing oversight and services for those most likely to reoffend.

Nearly all federal inmates face supervised release

More than 8 in 10 offenders sentenced to federal prison also undergo court-ordered supervised release. Congress created supervised release in 1984 as a way to help former inmates make the transition back into the community and reduce rates of reoffending. Offenders on supervised release are under the jurisdiction of U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services, an agency housed in the judicial branch. Supervised release, which went into effect in 1987, replaced parole as the primary system for monitoring federal offenders after prison. Although the two programs are similar in some ways, parole serves as a substitute for a portion of incarceration, while supervised release is a separate and additional sentence that begins when imprisonment ends. For example, an offender might serve 60 percent of a sentence behind bars and the remaining 40 percent on parole, but an individual on supervised release faces a period of monitoring even after completing a full prison term. Ninety-nine percent of all offenders on federal post-prison supervision in 2015 were on supervised release, with 1 percent still serving time under the old system of parole. Continue reading >>>