On a judge’s whim, probation can become a trap

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With help from the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Alaya Tyler, 24, petitioned to be released early from a probation term that was set to continue until she was 31 years old. (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer)

With help from the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Alaya Tyler, 24, petitioned to be released early from a probation term that was set to continue until she was 31 years old. (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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In Philadelphia, 1 in 23 adults is on probation or parole. Violations of those terms can lead to even more time under court supervision or being sent behind bars. Why is a system that’s supposed to keep people out of jail putting so many people at risk of incarceration? Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Samantha Melamed says one big reason is the wide discretion judges have in these cases.

Click here to read Samantha’s recent series with reporter Dylan Purcell, “The Probation Trap.”

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