Photo of Allison Frankel

Allison Frankel

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union Criminal Law Reform Project and Human Rights Program
  • Sponsored by Venture Justice Fund
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Yale Law School
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Allison (she/her/hers) will work to overhaul oppressive probation and parole systems that feed mass incarceration and exacerbate racial inequities through a replicable, community-driven campaign of litigation and other advocacy.

4.4 million people in the United States, or 1 in every 58, are on probation or parole. These forms of supervision are promoted as alternatives to incarceration, but in reality, they set people up to fail. In 2017, nearly half of all state prison admissions stemmed from supervision violations—often for conduct that, at root, results from over-policing and a lack of resources. Given generations of structural racism, Black people are 3.5 times more likely to be on supervision than white people and are disproportionately arrested and charged with violations.

Fellowship Plans

Building on the findings of her recent report, Allison will spearhead a community-centered campaign to end mass incarceration and enhance racial justice by reducing the use of supervision, drastically limiting incarceration for violations, and reinvesting savings in jobs, housing, and health services. To this end, Allison will develop and file replicable impact litigation challenging abusive probation and parole practices. Working in coalition with people on supervision, local advocates, and the ACLU’s 50-state network of affiliates, she will also promote legislative and administrative reforms to support the campaign’s goals. Finally, Allison will initiate public advocacy to raise awareness about oppressive probation and parole systems, amplifying the voices of people under supervision and local advocates.


Defense Attorneys Can Help Limit Electronic Monitor Overuse

Rethinking Electronic Monitoring: A Harm Reduction Guide

ACLU Recommends Eliminating Electronic Monitoring—‘E-Carceration’—in the Criminal Justice System

Three People Share How Ankle Monitoring Devices Fail, Harm, and Stigmatize

Politicians Have No Place Making Parole Decisions for Young People

ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging PA. County’s Abusive Probation and Parole Detention System

Probation and parole are seen as acts of leniency, but in reality, these forms of punishment drive high numbers of people—particularly Black and Brown—right back to jail and prison, while largely failing to address their underlying needs. To dismantle mass incarceration and systemic racism, we must overhaul probation and parole.

Allison Frankel /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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