McClinton, Policy Committee discuss new ideas on probation reform (with video)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 8 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing at the Philadelphia City Hall on probation reform.     

McClinton was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state legislators from across the commonwealth. The committee discussed initiatives and potential legislation that would update Pennsylvania’s probation policies, reduce recidivism, create reforms and give returning citizens a second chance and save taxpayer dollars.

“For far too long administrations and policymakers have enforced probation and parole as a measure of public safety, but it didn’t work. Pennsylvania has the highest parole rate in the nation and nearly one third of our prison’s beds are occupied by citizens who don’t pose a threat to their communities,” McClinton said. “We must reverse the equation by redirecting the hundreds of millions we currently spend in prisons into the resources returning citizens need to succeed.”

Sturla added, “This is the beginning of a comprehensive strategy to move probation reform forward. This issue also affects our institutions as probation and parole officers struggle to manage increasing caseloads. Thanks to Representative McClinton for taking the lead on this important conversation.”

The committee heard testimony from Christian Stephens, deputy secretary for field services, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; Helene Placey, executive director, County Chief Adult Probation & Parole Officers Association; Holly Harris, executive director, Justice Action Network; Mark Houldin, policy director, Mike Lee, assistant district attorney and director of legislation and government affairs, Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney; Defender Association of Philadelphia; Leslie Jones, policy and advocacy director, Montgomery County Public Defender Office, and member, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; and two parolees.

Testimony, photos and video from today’s hearing will be available at

The meeting was one in a series being held across the state on the House Democrats’ Plan4PA, which includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Those interested can visit for additional information about the Plan4PA.