December 15, 2018

End Crimeless Revocations to Prison by Reducing Parole Officer Discretion Motion

Motion: End Crimeless Revocations to Prison by Reducing Parole Officer Discretion

Whereas, according to the Vera Institute it costs over 41,000 a year to incarcerate one person for one year in Minnesota,

Whereas, there is currently an overcrowding crisis in Minnesota prisons, and according to the Marshall Project at any given time 6-10% of the prison population are those sent back on parole violations,

Whereas, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) nearly 90% of those returned to prison are returned for a crimeless revocation of conditional or supervised release - also called "technical violations",

Whereas, according to the DOC, Hennepin County is the leading incarcerator in Minnesota, responsible for over a quarter of Minnesota's incarcerated people,

Whereas, Hennepin County aspires to be a leader in racial equity but, according to Hennepin County Community Corrections Director, County parole officers are twice as likely to send black people and three times as likely to send native people to prison on such violations than white people,

Whereas parole officers function as ‘prosecutors’ in violations hearings, and therefore changing their recommendations would dramatically change the outcomes of such hearings,

Whereas, the Hennepin County Board has the power to direct Hennepin County parole officers to use their discretion in how they respond to violations of conditional or supervised release,

Whereas, failure to make change on this issue will result in sending roughly 450, disproportionately black and native, Hennepin County residents to prison without committing a new crime each year,

Whereas this creates a tragic cost - lives ruined, families separated, and an estimated five million a year billed to Minnesota and Hennepin County taxpayers,

Whereas, parole officers have better and more cost effective tools to ensure public safety and the well-being of returning citizens than sending people to prison on crimeless revocations,

Whereas, all families in our community, particularly black, brown, and indigenous families, are in need of love, care, and reunification this holiday season,

Be it resolved that:

1. Hennepin County Community Corrections be instructed that from this time on no parole officer shall recommend a revocation to prison on a crimeless violation of conditional or supervised release.

2. Hennepin County write a formal letter to the DOC by Dec 14th, 2018, made public on the date it is submitted, requesting:

a. The return of all those currently incarcerated from Hennepin County on technical violations to County supervision by Dec 24th, 2018.

b. An increase the County’s Community Corrections Act funding to the level necessary to ensure the successful return of these family members to the community. 

-- Decarcerate MN Coalition,, or text - 651-315-4222