POV | Shock Probation May Be a Flawed Idea (2/25/14) - WDRB 41 Louisville News

POV | Shock Probation May Be a Flawed Idea (2/25/14)

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"Shock probation" is the process by which judges may release non-violent offenders after as little as a month in prison -- if they believe the offender has been "shocked straight" by his experience and learned his lesson. 

The reason that option is in play is the tremendous overcrowding in our prisons and jails.  There are so many prisoners - and so little space -- that judges are under pressure to identify the best risks, free them, and then hope they've made the right choice.

The trouble is, too many of those choices seem to be misguided.

Take the local case of Mark Hambrick, who was sentenced to 10 years for robbery but released after just a few months.  How did he reward the judge's vote of confidence? He embarked on a month-long crime spree that included 27 more robberies and now, thankfully, is back behind bars.

But Hambrick's case isn't unusual.  In fact, a report WDRB's Jason Riley wrote a few years ago while at the Courier Journal revealed that about half of 260 early releases that were granted in a year's time resulted in a re-arrest.  And that strikes me as too many.

I sympathize with the overcrowding problem.  But either some of our judges are so eager to relieve that problem that they're letting people go without giving the decision the scrutiny it deserves, or shock probation is just a bad idea that needs to be reconsidered.

How would you deal with this problem?  Call and tell us.

I'm Bill Lamb and that's my Point of View.

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