Terms of Probation Geared Toward Failure
When talking about the injustice of the criminal justice system, one of the first places to look is at probation and parole. Most all of the terms of probation are discretionary on the part of the probation officer. This means the probation officer determines whether or not you have your freedom. This means a probationer is at the whim of his or her probation officer. Whim is never a good thing especially when it is in any way related to imprisonment. The result is that New Mexico prisons are filled with prisoners who were violated on probation for petty, technical and non-criminal matters.
Each and every provision can be manipulated and contorted to land a person back in prison if that is the wish of the probation officer. Too often that is the case and the courts are all to willing to oblige.
Below I will list each term and comment on the potential abuse. Read these as if you are probationer and your probation officer does not like you, rightly or wrongly. Read it again, and in keeping with the times, imagine you are black, Latino/Hispanic or Native American and your probation officer is a racist.
The abusive and callous enforcement of petty and technical terms of probation keep the courts busy, the probation officers employed, the countless parasitic groups, organizations and professionals funded and the prisons full. Its all about money and greed with every ladder rung of the system praying on the most vulnerable among us for their own economic advantage.
Terms of Standard Probation Supervision
Below are the standard terms of parole from the NMCD website. They are all subject to abusive enforcement but we will focus on those most likely to land a well-meaning parolee back in prison:
- State Laws: I will not violate any of the laws or ordinances of the State of NM, or any other jurisdiction. I shall not endanger the person or property of another.
Obey state laws? That seems reasonable until you look at the New Mexico Criminal Code and consider a republican legislature that not too long wanted to make it a crime for a teenager to appear drunk. What does that mean. Is it a crime to appear drunk? Of course not, every teenager appears drunk half the time. Is it a crime to appear drunk if you are a parolee? Perhaps it is if the parole officer concludes you are drunk. And what does it mean to endanger a person or property of another? Whatever the parole officer can convince the court it means.
- Reporting: I will report to my Probation/Parole Officer as often as required and will submit completed and truthful written reports as required by my Probation/Parole Officer. All communication with my Probation/Parole Officer will be truthful and accurate and I will promptly reply to any correspondence or communication I may receive from the Probation Office.
Failure to report is a major reason for return to prison. It does not take imagination to see how this might be abused by an abusive or racist parole officer.
- Status: I will get permission from my Probation/Parole Officer before: a) Leaving the county where I am being supervised and/or residing; b) Changing jobs; c) Changing residence; or d) Engaging in any major financial contract or debt.
Changing jobs can mean losing one’s job is not too hard to do for a convicted felon.
- Association: I will not associate with any person identified by my Probation/Parole Officer as being detrimental to my Probation supervision, which may include persons having a criminal record, other probationers and parolees, and victims or witnesses of my crime or crimes.
This leaves a lot to the whim of the parole officer in determining after all who or who all may be deemed “detrimental” to supervision.
- Supervision Level: I will follow all orders and instructions of my Probation/Parole Officer including actively participating in and successfully completing any level of supervision and/or treatment program, which may include Community Corrections, ISP, Electronic Monitoring or other supervision/treatment program, as deemed appropriate by the Probation/Parole Officer.
Burden, burden, burden “as deemed appropriate by the Probation/Parole Officer”. Gosh, I wonder how this could ever be abused.
- Visits: I will permit any Probation/Parole Officer to visit me at my home or place of employment at any time. I will permit a warrant-less search by the Officer of my person, automobile, residence, property and/or living quarters if he/she has reasonable cause to believe the search will produce evidence of a violation of my conditions of probation.
This is clearly subject to abuse basically giving a racist or otherwise malignant P.O. a license to make a parolee’s life living hell.
- Employment: Unless exempted, I will make every effort to obtain and hold a legitimate job and fulfill all financial obligations required of me including support of my family. I shall cooperate with my Probation Officer in any effort to assist me in obtaining employment. If I lose my job for any reason, I shall report this fact to my probation/Parole Officer within 48 hours of the change.
- Drugs: I will not buy, sell, consume, possess or distribute any controlled substances except those legally prescribed for my use by a State Certified Medical Doctor. I will also provide urine or breath test specimens for laboratory analysis upon request of the Probation and Parole division.
One word: Marijuana. Marijuana is the fallback position for any motivated and racist P.O. it stays in your system for 30 days. Despite its scientifically established medicinal use for many of the physical and mental health issues faced by those leaving prison, paroles are not eligible for a medical cannabis license.
- Probation Costs: I will pay probation costs as determined by my Probation/Parole Officer on or before the designated date each month to the Corrections Department in the form of a money order or cashier’s check.
Think debtors prison. This is real and folks land in jail and prison all the time due to poverty or lack of financial resources.