How Probation and Parole Feed Mass Incarceration in the United States

The 225-page report, “Revoked: How Probation and Parole Feed Mass Incarceration in the United States,” finds that supervision – probation and parole – drives high numbers of people, disproportionately those who are Black and brown, right back to jail or prison, while in large part failing to help them get needed services and resources. In states examined in the report, people are often incarcerated for violating the rules of their supervision or for low-level crimes, and receive disproportionate punishment following proceedings that fail to adequately protect their fair trial rights.


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  • A Case Study of US Law Enforcement

    This report details how policing affects Tulsa, particularly in the segregated and largely impoverished North Tulsa area. Human Rights Watch found that black people are subjected to physical force, including tasers, police dog bites, pepper spray, punches, and kicks, at a rate 2.7 times that of white people.

  • Alabama’s Failure to Prevent Cervical Cancer Death in the Black Belt

    This report documents how state and federal policies contribute to a treacherous reproductive health environment in Alabama, where women are dying from cervical cancer at rates higher than in any other US state.

  • The Lasting Harm of Jailing Mothers Before Trial in Oklahoma

    This report documents the unique harms of putting mothers with minor children into pretrial detention. Jailed mothers are separated from their children for days, weeks, months, a year or more with limited means of substantial contact—which compounds the already extreme pressure to accept a guilty plea.

  • The Impact of Offender-Funded Private Probation on the Poor

    This report documents private probation company practices in Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. These states allow private companies to supervise probation for minor crimes, including misdemeanors and criminal traffic offenses. Individuals pay their probation fees directly to the company.

  • How California’s Pretrial Detention and Bail System Unfairly Punishes Poor People

    This report details how about 63 percent of prisoners in California county jails in recent years were not sentenced, with many being held awaiting trial because they could not afford bail. 

  • The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States

    This report finds that enforcement of drug possession laws causes extensive and unjustifiable harm to individuals and communities across the country.

  • Failure to Deliver HIV Services in Louisiana Parish Jails

    This report documents the inadequate, haphazard, and in many cases, non-existent HIV testing, treatment, and linkage to care in the jails.

  • US Courts, Debt Buying Corporations, and the Poor

    This report scrutinizes how courts approach hundreds of thousands lawsuits brought every year by debt buyers – firms that specialize in buying up bad debts which they then try to collect for themselves. These suits have often been marred by patterns of apparent error, legal deficiency, and alleged illegality. 

  • Child Labor in United States Tobacco Farming

    The 73-page report, “Teens of the Tobacco Fields: Child Labor in United States Tobacco Farming,” documents the harm caused to 16- and 17-year-olds who work long hours as hired laborers on US tobacco farms, exposed to nicotine, toxic pesticides, and extreme heat.

  • The Tribal Council at Lower Brule and its Impact on Human Rights

    This 112-page report documents many of the problems with tribal governance at Lower Brule for the first time. It details how the Tribal Council has diverted millions of dollars in federal funds away from key social programs without explaining how those funds were spent.

  • Hazardous Child Labor in United States Tobacco Farming

    The 138-page report documents conditions for children working on tobacco farms in four states where 90 percent of US tobacco is grown: North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.

  • America’s “Offender-Funded” Probation Industry

    This 72-page report describes how more than 1,000 courts in several US states delegate tremendous coercive power to companies that are often subject to little meaningful oversight or regulation.

  • Domestic Workers’ Movements and Global Advances for Labor Reform

    This 33-page report, released by IDWN, the ITUC, and Human Rights Watch, charts ratification of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Domestic Workers Convention, national labor law reforms, and the growing influence of emerging domestic workers’ rights movements.

  • Abusive Impacts of Arkansas's Draconian Evictions Law

    This 44-page report tells the stories of Arkansas tenants who were dragged into criminal court for transgressions that would not be a crime in any other US state. Other tenants who did not violate the law have faced charges because prosecutors acted on specious claims by landlords.

  • Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in Four US Cities

    This 112-page report documented in each city how police and prosecutors use condoms to support prostitution charges.