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Pennsylvania Enacts Legislation Overhauling Probation System, Allowing Court to Secure More Criminal Records

Legislation signed by Governor Josh Shapiro will limit the circumstances under which a non-violent offender on probation can be sent back to jail and limit the length of probation, the Associated Press reports for WHYY. The legislation drew criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union, which says the law doesn’t fix the problems that plague Pennsylvania’s probation system and will do little to reduce the number of people under supervision. The bill also prohibits courts from extending someone’s probation for not paying fines or court costs if they are found to be unable to afford it. The other bill allows courts to seal records of non-violent drug felonies with a minimum sentence of under 2 1/2 years in prison and or a maximum sentence of under five years. Both bills emerged as part of a nationwide reconsideration of the criminal justice system, to help people leaving incarceration resume their lives and find jobs more easily. 

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