The U.S. Probation Department costs over $100,000,000 per year to operate. Much of its work is focused upon compliance with the unduly burdensome calculation requirements of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (which are needlessly complicated) and much of its work is focused on supervising offenders while on supervised release. Both of these functions, while, in theory, are noble, probably do not facilitate outcomes that are worth their cost. Indeed, every past violation of law, no matter how minor, must be researched and reported to the judge by the probation department prior to sentencing, and every violation, no matter how minor or technical, must be reported to the judge while the offender is on suppervised release. Consequently, an estimated fifty million dollars per year are used for a program that adds little or no value to the average taxpayer. The program should be scaled back signficiantly. Probaly over $50,000,000 per year could be saved in the long run in the federal courts' probation budget alone, plus countless millions of dollars in prison costs and U.S. DOJ lawyer costs and Federal Defender lawyer costs. Annualy, savings could eventually amount to $100,000,000 or more by scaling back the program to a level that focuses on simply helping prisoners find housing and jobs, rather than further punitive supervision of their lives.
Idea No. 11085