This report compiles—in a convenient format—the results of a yearlong research project on the laws relating to probation revocation in 21 American states. 2 By leafing through the four-page "legal profiles" presented in this volume, readers can easily see how much variation exists in statewide laws of probation and probation revocation, while zeroing in on issues of greatest interest. Whether a reader's jurisdiction is included in the report's 21 states or not, the legal profiles contain a wealth of information that will allow for comparison with one's own system. We think every reader—no matter how experienced in the field—will come across practices or ideas in this study that they never heard of before.
The report assumes that American states have much to learn from one another. Justice Louis Brandeis famously believed that the states can serve as "laboratories" for innovations in law and policy, so that best practices can emerge and be brought to the attention of other states for possible adoption or adaptation. 3 In order for Brandeis's laboratory to be a reality, however, the states must have some way of learning about the practices of other jurisdictions. In an increasingly complex and specialized world, this is a daunting task—and one that often requires a heavy investment in research. The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice has made such an investment in this report. We hope it will allow readers to see their home jurisdictions in new perspective, and will further the nationwide process of dialogue and improvement that Justice Brandeis envisioned.
This introduction gives a short overview of why the subject matter is important and how the report fits within a larger Probation Revocation Project launched by the Robina Institute in 2013. The introduction will also discuss the ambitions, scope, limitations, and uses of the state legal profiles.