In Georgia, where one in 16 adults is on probation—nearly four times the national average—lawmakers took action to reduce what have historically been some of the lengthiest probation terms in the country.See Teresa Wiltz, “Doing Less Time: Some States Cut Back on Probation,” Pew Charitable Trusts, April 26, 2017. The bill, signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal in May 2017, focuses resources on the initial years of probation, when people are most likely to reoffend; provides behavioral incentives to reduce probation time for people under supervision for first-time offenses; and waives certain fines and fees for those without the ability to pay.Council on State Governments Justice Center, “Georgia Governor Signs Bill to Strengthen Probation and Increase Public Safety,” May 10, 2017. For the text of the law, see Georgia SB 174 (2017).
In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law in March 2017 a bipartisan package of bills that updates parole and probation practices with the stated goal of reducing recidivism, including limiting incarceration for technical violations to 30 days and allowing judges, at their discretion, to reduce supervision terms after they are halfway completed.See Jonathan Oosting, “Michigan Senate Approves Parole, Probation Reforms,” Detroit News, February 2, 2017; and Emily Monacelli, “Gov. Rick Snyder Signs Criminal Justice Reform Bills,” mlive.com, March 31, 2017. For the text of the legislation, see Michigan SB 5 through Michigan SB 10 (2017), Michigan SB 11(S-1) (2017); Michigan SB 12(S-1) (2017); and Michigan SB 12 through Michigan SB 24 (2017). According to the bill’s sponsor, Republican State Senator John Proos, “The intent is for the reform package to increase the chance of success for offenders both on the front door of our prison system and on the back door of our prison system."Emily Lawler, “House Passes Criminal Justice Package, Leaves Behind Post-incarceration Jobs Bill,” mlive.com, March 8, 2017.