[COMMUNITY VOICES] Non-criminal ‘technical violations’ are increasing Minnesota’s prison population

When it comes to incarceration rates, Minnesota stands out as one of the few states who is experiencing an increase in their prison population despite prison overcrowding and crime at a 50-year low. While there are multiple factors for this, a significant part of this increase is due to the incarceration of formerly released individuals for non-criminal “technical violations” of parole. According to the Department of Correction in 2017 alone, 3,391 people were returned to prison, yet 88 percent – or nearly 3,000 of those admissions – were a return without a new sentence, that is, for technical violations. A technical violation is a petty violation of supervised or conditional release (colloquially known as “parole”) which are not in themselves a misdemeanor or felony. For example, people can be violated for failure to obtain or maintain housing or employment, being late for or missing an appointment, going on social media, driving a vehicle and many other non-crimes. Continue Reading