ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
SB 14 (P.N. 1819) was amended in the Senate Judiciary committee, based largely on the amended language of the House bill, HB 1555 (PN 3006). This amendment eliminated some of the most egregiously problematic provisions from HB 1555 and retained some of the bill’s stronger provisions, including eliminating the ability for judges to incarcerate a person in order to “vindicate the authority of the court,” permitting people on probation to travel outside the court’s jurisdiction in most circumstances, prohibiting extending probation or incarceration for failure to pay court fines and costs, and limiting the amount of time, in some circumstances, someone can be incarcerated following revocation of probation. But in exchange for these noted improvements, SB 14, as amended, sacrifices all of the fundamental, structural changes to Pennsylvania’s probation originally proposed by the bill: caps on probation terms, prohibiting stacked and "split" sentences, and automatic, early termination of probation, to name a few. SB 14 now changes current law in ways that risk making probation worse in Pennsylvania, and creates a convoluted and exclusionary process to terminate probation early – an outcome that is far easier to attain under current law.