CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Schuman on Drug Supervision

Jacob Schuman (The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law) has posted Drug Supervision (Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Criticism of harsh drug sentencing laws in the United States typically focuses on long prison sentences. But our criminal justice system also inflicts a significant volume of drug-related punishment through community supervision – probation, parole, and supervised release. Over one million people are under supervision due to a drug conviction, and drug violations are among the most common reasons for revocations. In an age of “mass supervision,” community supervision is a major form of drug sentencing and drug policy.

In this Article, I show that drug sentencing is central to the federal system of supervised release. While Congress created supervised release as a program of transitional support for former prisoners, the system has instead become a drug- control network focused on public safety. The mandatory revocation provision at 18 U.S.C. § 3583(g) in particular was designed to immediately imprison people with drug addiction at the first sign of drug use. This targeting of drug activity for enhanced punishment is so extreme that it violates the jury right under the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision in United States v. Haymond.

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