The Marshall Project

Want to Shrink the Prison Population? Look at Parole.

Missouri lawsuit says that the state’s parole process puts too many people back behind bars.

Stephanie Gasca was eight months pregnant when Missouri parole officials took her to jail. She had recently left a drug rehab program early, but she says she didn’t know there was a rule against that. She says she didn’t know she had the right to an attorney. She did know she was desperate not to have her baby in jail and wanted to go home. So when days later her parole officer handed her a form to waive the first of two hearings, she signed it, thinking it would speed the process. It didn’t. Instead, she was transferred to prison.

When she gave birth to her son Noah in July 2017, she was still in state custody. Noah went to Gasca’s mom, and Gasca went back to prison, where she stayed

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