Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Human Rights Watch Blasts Private Probation Companies in Missouri

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Human Rights Watch Blasts Private Probation Companies in Missouri

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Private probation companies are routinely leaned on to handle minor crimes and traffic cases in Missouri, but a new report by Human Rights Watch says the community service is ripe for abuse.

"Probation officers should be neutral officers of the court instead of making decisions to generate revenue for themselves and their companies," Komala Ramachandra, author of the report titled "Set up to fail," said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

The Missouri Department of Corrections supervises most felons on probation. Private probation firms do drug testing, GPS monitoring, criminal background checks and other tasks mainly involving misdemeanor probation cases.

There isn't statewide oversight or a comprehensive list of all the private probation companies and where they operate, according to the report, which came out Tuesday.

Missouri doesn't have the equivalent of the Private Probation Services Council in Tennessee that ensures uniform standards. In the Show-Me State, information about each company is available by contacting each circuit court.

Autumn Pettit, owner of Private Correctional Services LLC, said there were people watching. …

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