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June 4, 2014

"Max Out: The Rise in Prison Inmates Released Without Supervision"

PewThe title of this post is the title of a notable new report Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts. This press release about the report provides a helpful summary of its main findings, and here are excerpts from the release:

More than 1 in 5 state inmates maxed out their prison terms and were released to their communities without any supervision in 2012, undermining efforts to reduce reoffending rates and improve public safety, according to a report released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

A wide range of laws and policies adopted in the 1980s and ’90s has resulted in a sharp increase in the rate at which inmates serve their full sentences behind bars, leaving no time at the end for parole or probation agencies to monitor their whereabouts and activities or help them transition back into society by providing substance abuse, mental health, or other intervention programs....

Key findings of the report, Max Out: The Rise in Prison Inmates Released Without Supervision, include:

  • Between 1990 and 2012, the number of inmates who maxed out their sentences in prison grew 119 percent, from fewer than 50,000 to more than 100,000.

  • The max-out rate, the proportion of prisoners released without receiving supervision, was more than 1 in 5, or 22 percent of all releases, in 2012.

  • Max-out rates vary widely by state: In Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, fewer than 10 percent of inmates were released without supervision in 2012. More than 40 percent of inmates maxed out their prison terms and left without supervision in Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah.

  • Nonviolent offenders are driving the increase. In a subset of states with data available by offense type, 20 and 25 percent of drug and property offenders, respectively, were released without supervision in 2000, but those figures grew to 31 and 32 percent, or nearly 1 in 3, in 2011.

In the past few years, at least eight states—Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia—adopted reforms to ensure that authorities can supervise all or most offenders after release from prison. These policies, most of which are too new to evaluate, typically carve out the supervision period from the prison sentence rather than add time for it after release. This allows states to reduce prison spending and reinvest some of the savings in stronger recidivism-reduction programs....

These new policies are backed by data that indicate inmates released to supervision are less likely to commit new crimes than those who max out and return home without oversight....

The report outlines a policy framework to guide state leaders in reducing max-outs and recidivism. It recommends that policies require post-prison supervision, carve out the community supervision period from prison terms, strengthen parole decision-making, tailor conditions to offenders’ risks and needs, adopt evidence-based practices, and reinvest savings in community corrections.

June 4, 2014 at 12:12 PM | Permalink


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well no shit shurlock. You take all gain time away and then your SURPRISE when they walk out with no suprvison.

what a bunch of typical government fuckups. What's really sad is it only took you fuckups 30 years to notice!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 4, 2014 2:15:11 PM

The question is whether those who are maxing out are maxing out because that was their sentence or are they maxing out because of their conduct while incarcerated (or in some cases on their first supervised release). The answer matters to the discussion of the remedy.

If someone is maxing out because they had a non-parole/non-supervised release sentence that is something that is easily fixed by altering the sentence structure to include a supervised release term (like in the federal system).

If someone who could have gotten parole or early release is maxing out because they demonstrate in prison that they are a bad candidate for release, there probably is no good solution. Putting someone on the street early who is a likely re-offender just so that they can have supervision when they are released is a bad idea. Other than making violating parole a crime, I do not know how to keep on adding new periods of supervision to somebody who keeps on violating the conditions of release when they are released.

Posted by: tmm | Jun 5, 2014 9:37:48 AM

This is part of the reason the Federal Courts separate supervision from incarceration for sentencing purposes. Even if a prison sentence is maxed out, the supervised release period remains unchanged. In fact, if a term of supervision is revoked, it can be restarted (or partially restarted) after a new term of incarceration is given.

Posted by: Eric | Jun 6, 2014 2:18:25 PM

I would like to know how a inmate in wa state can be revoked from supervision max time adjusted further out to compensate community custody finish sentence maxed out given a bus ticket home then told he owes a year of supervision added on after sentence is this grounds for a lawsuits now we feel totally harassed by department of corrections and dont think it's legal I've been reading everything I can get a hold of and sounds like when they revoked him that should have been the end he finished sentence no early release or good time maxed out is this legal


Posted by: Tamara | Oct 23, 2016 3:21:18 PM

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