This meant they were supervised in the community by a probation officer and required to comply with a strict set of rules, or else they could be sent to prison. Rules included attending office visits, drug testing, informing the PO of a change of employment or residence, paying court costs, etc. Furthermore, there were no limits on the time that could be imposed for even the most minor 'technical' violation. Missing just one appointment or testing positive once for marijuana could result in years of incarceration. Judges could also order people to be tethered to the court system through probation for their entire lives.
In 2021, the General Assembly enacted a law that placed a five-year limit on terms of probation in the community and limits on how much incarceration can be imposed for technical violations. HB 2013 would repeal that progress, removing the limits on the length of imprisonment for technical violations of probation, again allowing judges to sentence people to years in prison unnecessarily.
Until the legislature reformed these laws, probation violations accounted for approximately half of all new admissions to the Department of Corrections, with thousands of them only having committed a 'technical' violation. These policies put a massive strain on Virginia's budget.
Virginia spends about $235 million per year on probation supervision. This does not even account for social costs: incarceration for technical probation violations undermines public safety by separating families, reducing the workforce, and failing to prevent future crimes. By capping probation length at five years, Virginia joined 46 other states in limiting terms of probation. Thirty states have limited the amount of incarceration that can be imposed for technical probation violations.
Protect Progress on Probation Reform. Say NO to HB 2013.