Limiting Incarceration for Technical Violations of Probation and Parole


Open the Database

On any given day, around 280,000 people are in prison for violating a condition of probation or parole according to research from the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSGJC). This is nearly 25% of the total prison population in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

A technical violation means that a person did not comply with a condition of their supervision, such as missing a check-in with their supervision officer or failing a drug test. States have limited the use of incarceration as a response to technical violations of supervision by capping the length of time an individual can be incarcerated.

Thirty-four states have statutes specifying a cap on the length of incarceration for probation violations and 24 states have caps for parole. In most of those states, the caps are the same whether an individual is sanctioned for a technical violation of either probation or parole.

Some states have different caps depending on who orders the sanction, whether it is the court or a supervision officer.

Using the Database

Learn about caps on incarceration for technical violations of probation and parole in the 50-state statutory database by clicking on the image at the top of the page.

The database can be navigated by using state and subtopic filters. Text searching is available for statutory summaries or statutory language contained in the database. The map is also interactive and allows you to more quickly select multiple states to review―just hold down the control key to select more than one state. Use the reset button at the top left to clear all filters and start a new search.

Note that this database only contains statutory provisions that address each policy area. Case law, regulations or agency policy may further impact the current state of the law in each state. This database also does not address policies adopted by local jurisdictions or agencies.

Additional Resources