Relocating Reentry: Divesting from Community Supervision, Investing in “Community Repair”
By Clarence Okoh & Isabel Coronado
Community supervision, or community corrections, refers to a court-ordered period of correctional supervision served outside of a correctional facility. Some policymakers insist that “community supervision” is a viable path to combat mass incarceration. However, mounting evidence makes clear that “mass supervision” is not a solution; instead, it is a leading driver of mass criminalization, especially in Black communities and other communities of color. Mass supervision’s broad range of economic, legal, and social disadvantages trap millions of individuals in cycles of carceral predation and second-class citizenship. To address this crisis, policymakers must envision an entirely new paradigm to support the needs of individuals returning home from correctional facilities. This paradigm must break cycles of correctional punishment while insisting on systemic redress and repair for communities that have carried the heaviest burdens of mass criminalization.
This report offers insights to help policymakers create that new paradigm. For this report, we interviewed over two dozen community advocates, practitioners, and systems-impacted individuals concentrated in three states–Arizona, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin–to understand better how state community supervision systems impede or support economic opportunity, with a particular focus on parole supervision.
What emerged from those conversations was a consensus about the need for a new legal and policy paradigm that we term “community repair.” Community repair offers an entirely different relationship between the state and systems-impacted individuals. Community repair is an anti-carceral policy approach that advocates for removing corrections and law enforcement from the reentry process altogether—recognizing that public investments in meeting basic needs such as employment, housing, and health care hold the most significant promise in disrupting mass supervision and incarceration. This framework goes further by insisting that the state must address present harms and redress the multigenerational harms of mass supervision on families and communities impacted by the criminal legal system.
Based on our conversations with stakeholders and an extensive scan of policy developments at the state and national levels, we offer recommendations for harm reduction and systems transformation of community supervision.