President Barack Obama wants to expand a program pioneered in Washington to reform probation and parole. The new state law dramatically changed its approach to ex-offenders, and even the experts who back the new approach have been surprised at the promising results.
In the past, ex-offenders on probation or parole could often rack up a bunch of violation before they’d be punished. And by then the sanctions could be harsh: many months in jail.
The idea behind the new approach, called "swift and certain," is that a minor violation triggers an immediate but moderate punishment, such as a couple of days in jail for failing a drug test.