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More than Money: How Probation Fees Impact Formerly Incarcerated People

After being released from incarceration, many people are unable to afford their probation fees and restitution costs. Absence from work, time away from managing obligations, and being out of contact with helpful resources can cause returning citizens to face many financial roadblocks as they work to rebuild a productive life. For this reason, Paroled2Pride is proud to be among the reentry programs who support formerly incarcerated people by providing assistance with probation fees and restitution.

Probation fees can increase the risk of an individual being rearrested. Failure to meet this financial obligation could result in criminal charges such as failure to comply. In some cases, a person is given a warning or extended probation time. This practice could be deemed unfair due to the lack of employment opportunities and reentry services in underserved areas where recidivism rates are the highest. Although many probation fees can be resolved through payment plans, this policy can add stress to the already difficult process of finding employment after incarceration.

The requirement of probation fees not only impacts formerly incarcerated individuals - it also takes a tole on their families. For those who have little to no support, these probation fees can become a burden to keep up with. While trying to catch up on missed obligations, finding stable housing, juggling healthcare needs, resuming parental duties, and rebuilding broken relationships, probation fees may not feel like the most important thing to focus on for some people. Luckily, many communities have access to organizations like Paroled2Pride that can assist with probation fees and transitioning back into the community. These payments can be helpful for a few months as we help our participants find gainful employment. The more support one has, the more motivated they will feel while learning to care for themselves and loved ones as they regain stability. Probation fees present a financial roadblock and a risk for increasing recidivism rates in communities around the country.

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