Progressives push for probation, eviction reform in final days of Del. Legislative session

DOVER, Del. – The ACLU of Delaware and Delaware Collective Justice are pushing for probation and eviction reform ahead of the end of Delaware’s legislative session on June 30th.

The Delaware ACLU Deputy Policy and Advocacy Director John Reynolds says the state’s current probation system is one of the strictest in the nation, and believes it sets people up to fail.

“The bill will create some pretty significant and very needed reforms to Delaware’s probation system, specifically limiting the probation terms, the general rule for probation terms to 12 months in the state of Delaware,” Reynolds said.

The bill would have the state use more info and create individualized probation parameters, considering factors like recidivism, if a person has a stable home or job, and if their offenses involved violence.

Delaware Collective Justice Policy Director Kailyn Richards says that’s where they’ve run into opposition, as the cost behind that change would top 33 million dollars.

“You have money to spend on probation and so I don’t see why it’s an issue that we’re spending money to keep people off probation,” Richards said adding that limiting probation would also save the state money- by sending fewer people back to prison for minor violations.

“I think by limiting the term to 12 months, I think that will decrease our prison population and put people in a place where they can thrive and not just survive,” Richards said.

The Delaware ACLU says they are also pushing to make sure tenants in eviction court get a right to an attorney.

“It’s going to be both good for that individual, good for the landlord in the wrong in the long run because they’re not continually having tenants turnover and making sure we don’t just kind of so instability in our communities,” Reynolds said.

The ACLU tells us they hope to see the tenant rights bill move forward with support from Senate Democrats, building on two years of work.

For probation reform, the Delaware ACLU says they expect an amendment to be introduced- to split up that administrative process from the rest of the probation reform and get it out of the Senate this year, setting it up for an easier path in the next legislative session.



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