Columbia Justice Lab

Shaping Justice for the Future

Probation and Parole

Founded as either an up-front diversion from incarceration (probation) or a back-end release valve to prison crowding (parole), community corrections in the United States has grown far beyond what its founders could have imagined, with a profound, unintended impact on incarceration. With nearly five million adults under community corrections supervision in America (more than double the number in prison and jail), probation and parole have become a substantial contributor to our nation’s mass incarceration dilemma as well as a deprivation of liberty in their own right. The Justice Lab’s work on probation and parole investigates factors that have contributed to the almost four-fold expansion of community corrections since 1980, and develops policy options that can reduce unnecessary incarceration and supervision, increase the system’s legitimacy, and enhance public safety by allowing probation, parole, and community programming to be focused on those more in need of supervision and support.

Fact sheets: Learn more about probation and parole in your state.
Probation and Parole Research by Justice Lab Members

Justice Lab Work on Probation and Parole in the News

For more information on probation and parole, visit the following sites: 


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