Community supervision through a term of probation or parole is a common alternative to incarceration for justice-involved individuals who may be awaiting trial or as part of their sentence after conviction. To slow the spread of COVID-19, counties have made sweeping changes to the operations of these departments and the way in which people are supervised or monitored in the community. To reduce in-person contact between community supervision officers (officers) and their clients, counties are suspending requirements for physical check-ins and using video and telephone conferencing to conduct essential business. Some counties are requesting that officers temporarily avoid arresting and incarcerating individuals for technical violations of the terms of their supervision that are not considered a threat to public safety.
Counties are also reducing or eliminating financial requirements associated with community supervision in light of COVID-19’s economic impact. As jails are releasing individuals to facilitate social distancing within correctional facilities, counties are working to connect justice-involved individuals with community-based service providers to facilitate housing and necessary medical or behavioral health treatment upon release.
Safely supervising justice-involved individuals in the community remains a critical justice function during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this crisis, counties will continue to play a significant role in ensuring and maintaining justice. As the outbreak unfolds, counties will continue to be an important resource in supporting communities and protecting public safety.