Appeals Court Ruling Demands Accountability When Restrictions Are Imposed on Former Offenders

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says you can’t just make up a bunch of vague restrictions and slap them on former offenders without thinking at least a little bit about what you’re doing.

Late last year, in its series REFUGEES USA, the Nebraska FACTS blog shined a light on the abuses of supervisory authority that are heaped upon former offenders.

The Tuesday, January 13, appeals court ruling shows how sentencing judges enable such abuse with vague and not-at-all-thought-through restrictions imposed on former offenders. Some examples:

  • A ban on “excessive” drinking that doesn’t define what excessive is.
  • A lifetime prohibition on  a man being in contact with anyone under the age of 18 — even his own children — without the approval of a probation officer. 
  • And an order to get his GED or go back to prison — even if he’s too dumb to pass the tests.

The full Chicago Sun-Times story is here.

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