Probation and parole revocation on the rise in Arkansas

If you've been convicted of a crime, getting probation or parole can seem like winning the lottery. You've avoided going to jail, and you want to be sure to do everything in your power to keep it that way. If you live in Arkansas, you're going to want to be especially careful to follow the terms outlined by the judge, because the judicial system doesn't take breaches lightly.

In 2015, more than half of all inmates in the Arkansas prison system-approximately 9,700 people-were serving time for violating the terms of their probation or parole. That's nearly twice as many as in 2009. One-third of this group was serving time for strictly "technical violations." That is to say, they hadn't been arrested for having committed another crime, but rather, they broke some other technical condition, such as missing an appointment with a probation/parole officer.

Avoiding jail

It is critical that you understand the conditions of your probation or parole in order to comply completely and avoid unnecessary jail time. Typical conditions of parole or probation may include:

· Attending regular appointments with the court and parole/probation officer to provide status updates

· Undergoing medical or psychiatric treatment

· Participating in community-based work

· Refraining from leaving the jurisdiction

· Refraining from owning a firearm

· Refraining from going to a certain place or engaging with a certain person

If you break any condition of your probation/parole, an officer may file a petition for revocation with the court. Within 60 days, the court will hold a hearing to decide whether you should go to jail.

As shown above, Arkansas courts have shown an increasing inclination to imprison people for committing even technical infractions of their parole or probation. In addition, at such hearings, the prosecution has the comparatively easy job of proving a "preponderance of evidence" rather than guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

It's important to know that you have the right to an attorney at your probation/parole revocation hearing. If you're facing parole/probation revocation in Arkansas, the odds are not in your favor if you leave the outcome to chance. Having someone to represent your interests can be the difference between maintaining your freedom and winding up in jail.

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