Major probation reform passes Senate committee

Today the Senate Judiciary committee passed S3014, by Rhoda Perry. The bill has been discussed at length here and elsewhere: Essentially, it’d ensure that people weren’t put in prison for offenses for which they were ‘violated’ but never convicted.

Rhode Island’s probation violation structures are way out of the mainstream — among the two or three most regressive in the nation.

Several people testified over the course of 90 minutes or so, among them many relatives of people who are behind bars for crimes for which they’ve never been convicted: So compelling was their testimony that the committee, extraordinarily, passed the legislation upon its first hearing.

The House version of the bill, of which I’m the sponsor, passed overwhelmingly several weeks ago, and is also before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Congrats to DARE, the Family Life Center, the Public Defender’s office, and others who’ve advocated around this issue. And a sincere thank you to Senator Perry and her colleagues.

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