Australia Criminal Justice Reform—Lessons from the United States
Another idea that has found favour with reformers in the United States is changing the way that breach of parole and supervision orders are policed. Historically, any violation of the conditions of release into the community was punishable by losing the privilege of release and being incarcerated. Because the severity of this punishment was often disproportionate to the violation committed, supervisors would often allow violations to go unpunished, rendering the system arbitrary. First pioneered in Hawaii, an alternative approach has emerged that punishes violations with a range of measures, escalating in seriousness, from loss of privileges to weekend detention. This approach has come to be known as “swift, certain, and fair”: punishments for violations are meted out quickly, consistently, and proportionately, reducing incarceration and giving offenders greater opportunity to prove they are ready to live in the community.