November 18, 2019 Criminal Justice Reform, Press Release, Prison Reform Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf was joined by Deputy Secretary of Corrections Christian Stephens and national criminal justice reform advocates today in the Capitol Rotunda to push for commonsense probation reforms that address probation sentences and probation lengths.“Despite recent progress, Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system is still failing in some areas,” Gov. Wolf said. “Probation should assist Pennsylvanians with creating stability in their lives and instead, our excessively long sentences and cumbersome rules are causing Pennsylvanians to lose their jobs, employers are losing much-needed workers, families are losing support systems, and taxpayer money is being wasted on a system that is not improving lives or recidivism rates.”According to the Department of Corrections, one in 35 adults in Pennsylvania is under some form of post-incarceration supervision and that number has increased while the state’s crime rate has decreased. Pennsylvania is one of just eight states where probation can last up to the maximum sentence of an offense.Gov. Wolf encouraged the end of the practice of forcing Pennsylvanians to spend decades jumping through hoops and putting people into jail for minor probation violations like missing an appointment; to institute hard caps on the length of time a person can be on probation; and to find fitting, productive responses, like connecting people to treatment when they fail drug tests.“We have the opportunity to positively change the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians through criminal justice reform,” Gov. Wolf said. “And we already have – through bipartisan initiatives like the Clean Slate Law. I’m having some great discussions with members of the legislature on the best next steps, and I’m optimistic that by working together, we can create a fairer criminal justice system that gets Pennsylvanians back on track to productive, successful lives.”Last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced its participation in a Safe Streets & Second Chances reentry initiative aimed at reducing recidivism, which aligns with the governor’s criminal justice reform ideals. The DOC has been working with researcher Dr. Carrie Pettus-Davis from Florida State University to provide access to inmates from four state correctional institutions in Western Pennsylvania who were interested in participating in the pilot program.The 5-Key Model used in the Safe Streets & Second Chances model is a departure from some reentry models that are predominantly deficits-focused. This model focuses on the strengths and psychological well-being of formerly incarcerated individuals to ensure they will remain crime-free and contribute positively to society. Research indicates that a focus on strengths and well-being best maximizes public health and public safety.In addition to Dr. Pettus-Davis, Gov. Wolf was joined by Safe Streets & Second Chances Advisory Council Chair Mark Holden, Right on Crime’s John Koufos, Sen. Anthony Williams, Rep. Jordan Harris, and other legislators and criminal justice reform advocates.“We need an effective criminal justice system which protects people, preserves public safety, respects human dignity, and removes barriers to opportunity for people reentering society to have real second chances,” Mark Holden said. “The research of Safe Streets & Second Chances has found that we get better outcomes when we work together for bipartisan solutions to critical problems like housing, employment and probation reform in Pennsylvania. We look forward to working with Governor Wolf, the legislature and all constituencies to ensure that commonsense smart-on-crime and soft-on-taxpayer policy solutions are achieved for the Keystone state.”“Probation reform and smart criminal justice reform consistently lead to safer communities, and we are excited to see bipartisan innovation in Pennsylvania,” said John Koufos. “Our partners look forward to working with the Legislature as they release a probation bill before this session expires that will make Pennsylvania safer and more prosperous. Technical probation violations have been estimated to cost Pennsylvania taxpayers $100 million per year but are not making Pennsylvanians any safer. Pennsylvania is charting a new course by fixing this system, and we thank the legislature and the governor for working together on this critical issue.”“There are positive, commonsense changes that we can make to the probation system to balance the needs of those who have served time and are working to be part of our society again with the needs of our community and victims to be kept safe,” Rep. Sheryl Delozier, legislation co-sponsor, said.“Criminal justice reform is the civil rights issue of our time, and it’s an honor to stand with Governor Wolf whose support is invaluable,” legislation co-sponsor Rep. Jordan Harris said. “Our probation system is broken and rather than helping people get back to leading a productive life, it’s entrapping them like quicksand. I’m confident we can bring about real change for Pennsylvania and I look forward to continuing to work with Representative Sheryl Delozier as well as democrats and republicans across the aisle who recognize that probation reform is necessary to move Pennsylvania forward.”“At the end of the day, our role as elected officials is to make life better for the people of the commonwealth and that means providing more opportunity, less government, and safer neighborhoods,” said Sen. Camera Bartolotta, legislation co-sponsor. “Criminal justice reform helps achieve all three of these goals. That is why I am proud to be a prime sponsor of Senate Bill 14, legislation that will help reform our overly burdensome probation system from one that too often traps people in a cycle of incarceration, to one that offers opportunity and a path to a better life.”“We’ve worked for over a year with partners representing a wide array of ideologies in support of achieving long-overdue reform to our community supervision system,” legislation co-sponsor Sen. Anthony Williams said. “I look forward to continuing that work and getting a bill that ensures equitable and fair probation supervision to Governor Wolf’s desk early next year.” SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Gov. Wolf, National Advocates Push for a Fairer Probation System
Germany’s BaFin has disagreed with the EU pension supervisor’s recommendation that it make more frequent on-site inspections of occupational pension providers to assess their compliance with the prudent person rule.The recommendation was one of 27 that the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) issued for national supervisors in 16 countries following a peer review of how national authorities ensured that IORPs invested their capital in the best interest of their members and beneficiaries.EIOPA said it would assess how the “national competent authorities” (NCAs) complied with the recommended actions and “continue its work to improve supervisory practices in this area at European level”.Twelve of the recommended actions were of “low” importance, nine of “medium” importance, and six of “high” importance, according to an EIOPA grading system. The recommendation addressed to BaFin about the length of its on-site inspection cycle was marked as of “high” importance.According to EIOPA, the frequency of on-site inspections related to the prudent person rule varied significantly from national supervisor to national supervisor, depending mainly on “the applicable legal framework, the pension landscape in a country and NCA resources”. BaFin’s offices in BonnHowever, the average was every three to six years and EIOPA considered that “a lack of or low frequency of on-site inspections constitutes a shortcoming in existing supervisory processes”.In Germany, BaFin conducted on-site inspections at least every seven to 12 years depending on an IORP’s “classification in the risk categorisation tool”. According to EIOPA, it should increase the cycle to conduct more inspections, again depending on the risk classification.BaFin availed itself of national authorities’ right to submit a written statement where they have “strong objections” to a recommended action or finding.In its statement, which was included in EIOPA’s report, the supervisor said it considered it appropriate to stick to its current audit cycle, as this was compensated by a range of “risk reduction mechanisms”.These included the existence of additional qualitative and quantitative rules about investment by Pensionsfonds and Pensionskassen, and a comprehensive reporting system – already in place for the latter and in the works for the former.BaFin also noted that Germany, “unlike most other EU member states”, had granted insurance claims absolute precedence over any other claim with respect to assets representing the technical provisions, rather than “just” granting them a special rank.The supervisor also emphasised that information gained from IORPs’ risk management and internal audit processes were “very important for the supervisors” and that the knowledge of IORP employees entrusted with these processes and tasks was “often the starting point for further auditing on the part of the supervisors”.Positives, too In addition to the recommended actions targeting supervisory shortcomings EIOPA identified six best practices currently being applied by five national authorities.These related to the use of thematic reviews, the use of risk scoring models, stress tests, the monitoring of costs, reporting, and financial education.The NCAs identified as implementing at least one identified best practice were the FSMA in Belgium, Covip in Italy, Luxembourg’s CSSF, the Dutch supervisor DNB, and the ASF in Portugal.EIOPA said it was of the view that “initiatives to include more qualitative elements in supervision” should be facilitated, as well as “combining qualitative and quantitative elements and to move from purely compliance-based towards a more risk-based and forward-looking approach”.The reference period of the peer review was 2014-2016 under the IORP Directive, but EIOPA said the analysis was valid following the introduction of the IORP II Directive as it did not substantially alter the prudent person rule. EIOPA’s report can be found here.