DA Larry Krasner pitched judges on ending Philly’s probation addiction. Will they go for it?

More than 40,000 people, or one out of 22 adults, are monitored by the county probation and parole department. That supervision can last for years or decades because state laws allow for some of the longest probation terms in the nation.

…Under his proposal, interested judges might set out criteria for terminations that could be conducted en masse without hearings. For example, some judges might allow terminations for those with three years on probation or parole without a violation; others might approve termination after two years for good candidates convicted of nonviolent offenses only.

…In Krasner’s letter, he emphasized each judge’s discretion in any early termination decision: “We respect your independence — as should be clear from our demonstrated commitment after 15 months not to abuse the judiciary via the press and via other means, as was done at times in some prior [District Attorney’s Office] administrations.”

“In a functional system, the chief prosecutor does — and should — reach out to judges to discuss whether and how existing court processes and procedures might be altered, and why such changes might be a good idea,” she said. “That sort of reaching out to the bench is normally not considered a violation of the rule against ex partecommunications, especially where the other main institutional player, the chief defender, is included in the conversation.”

…The First Judicial District declined to respond to questions about the proposal; instead, a spokesperson provided a statement:

“Court leadership remains committed to working with our partners to effectuate criminal justice reform. And our individual judges will continue to make their decisions objectively in a thoughtful, judicially responsible manner, consistent with the rules and procedures to which the judiciary are bound.”

DA Larry Krasner pitched judges on ending Philly’s probation addiction. Will they go for it?

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