Jeremy from Indiana
Parole and probation are only legitimate punishments if they are given IN LIEU OF incarceration, which in your scenarios, they are. It’s cheaper for the taxpayers and provides the prisoner a stepping stone to full freedom. Of course, I would argue that registrants are never fully free as long as we’re on the registry, but that’s not what our current debate is about.
The idea behind having strict restrictions on parole/probation is to create a habit with the former offender. You mention that many of those restrictions are gone after supervision. If someone spends 5 years on supervision, they have created a 5 year habit of better than acceptable behavior due to restrictions. One of the things I learned in my effective treatment program is that my best thinking and behavior is what got me into this mess in the first place. The idea behind supervision is to put you into a higher category of thinking than normal, so if you mess up a little, you don’t fall below normal into illegal territory.
When we were convicted of our crimes, we showed society that we cannot behave legally. Incarceration aims to force us to behave legally while supervision allows us to be a little free as we learn to use our new behavior. The only other option is to stay incarcerated the full time. Reducing sentences as you suggest is a lost battle.