Parole Revocation

Our prisons house many thousands of men and women who have completed their original prison sentence and been released, but have been returned to prison because they have been deemed in violation of conditions of parole.  In many cases, these prisoners remain behind bars not for committing a crime but for failing to follow rules, such as missing an appointment with a parole officer or staying out past curfew.

Parole revocation hearings are the forum in which the fate of prisoners who have been accused of violating parole is decided. The MacArthur Justice Center is committed to demanding full due process in these hearings.

Challenging Missouri’s Assembly-Line Parole Violation System

In a series of cases going back to the 1970’s, the United States Supreme Court provided parolees with important due process protections when facing revocation and reimprisonment. Those protections include the right to adequate notice, to fair and meaningful hearings, and, under certain circumstances, the right to counsel.

Yet, while nation-wide incarceration rates are dropping, Missouri is one of the few states in which prisoner numbers are going up – in no small part because of the state’s parole practices.

We are pursuing a class action lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Corrections which has been unlawfully sending thousands back to prison every year.

More about Missouri's Parole Practices

The occurrence of mental illness and substance abuse in the parolee population reflects the risk of a cycle of re-incarceration when states focus on prison rather than treatment-based or community-focused alternatives.

Source: Missouri Department of Corrections

Source: Missouri Department of Corrections

The state conduct parole revocation proceedings lack any real legal protections for parolees – limiting their access to information, counsel or ability to effectively advocate on their own behalf.

Despite being constitutionally mandated, thousands are sent back to prison without ever being granted a hearing or an effective attorney.