In Missouri, the Parole Board is running an assembly-line parole process that pushes people back into our prisons without any real legal protections. In many instances, alleged parole violators are tricked or pressured into waiving their right to a hearing and being returned to prison without any process at all.
Every year, the Board revokes parole for
3,000-7,000 individuals without offering anyone an attorney,
and apparently without even informing parolees of their right to counsel.
When hearings are held, the Parole Board relies on inadequate evidence of alleged parole violations in reaching its decisions. Some parolees may sit in prison a year or more awaiting a revocation hearing. As a result of this unfair process, Missouri is one of the few states in which the prison population is actually increasing. We are pursuing a state-wide class action against the Missouri Department of Corrections and the Parole Board.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the flawed parole revocation in Missouri is that these parolees are never told that they might have the right to an attorney, let alone provided with one.
A federal court orders the Missouri Department of Corrections to overhaul the state’s broken parole revocation process—ensuring counsel is appointed, parolees are informed and empowered, and hearings are prompt.
In light of the spread of COVID-19, the MacArthur Justice Center is asking a federal court to curtail statewide parole revocation proceedings and release certain categories of people incarcerated solely for parole violations given the well-documented, increased threat of the virus for detained populations.
A federal court has certified a class-action lawsuit alleging the State of Missouri re-incarcerates thousands of people in defiance of U.S. Supreme Court rulings guaranteeing that parolees receive certain due process protections when states consider depriving them of their liberty due to alleged parole violations.