Robina Report highlights mass supervision in the USA

Readers of this blog will be well aware of our own developing discussion about ‘mass supervision’ in Europe. At the same time, our colleagues at the Robina Institute in the University of Minnesota have embarked on similar work in the USA (drawing partly on the important work of Michelle Phelps, also at Minnesota but in Sociology, who attended and addressed our first conference in Liverpool in 2013).

Recently, they have put together the US data and the European data to produce a very short data brief. Here’s what the authors (Mariel Alper, Alessandro Corda, and Kevin Reitz) say by way of introduction:

“It is well known that the U.S. leads the world in incarceration rates. This Data Brief shows that, compared with Europe, America is similarly “exceptional” for its high rates of probation supervision. The average probation supervision rate for all fifty states is more than five times the average rate for all European countries included in the most recent Council of Europe data. Several U.S. States with the highest rates of probation supervision (e.g., Ohio, Rhode Island, Idaho, and Indiana) have rates that are eight-to-nine times the average European rate. …

This Data Brief demonstrates for the first time that America suffers from “mass probation” in addition to “mass incarceration.” Although probation has often been thought of as an “alternative” to prison or jail sentences, the U.S. has achieved exceptional levels of punitiveness in both incarceration and community supervision.”

The data brief can be accessed here




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