Why might some probationers be kept in the community after a technical violation rather than having their probation revoked?

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Probation violations usually fall into one of two categories—substantive and technical. Substantive violations happen when a probationer is charged with a new crime while on probation and often result in the offender being sent back to prison and their original suspended penalties reinstated.

Technical violations occur when the probationer fails to meet a condition of their probation. Since the goal of probation is to keep the offender out of prison, these less severe violations may not necessarily result in reincarceration. It is often up to the discretion of a judge or probation officer to determine what the consequences of a technical violation could be. If they feel that the offender made an honest mistake that resulted in the violation or that the violation can be remedied through less severe actions, then they often will be permitted to remain in the community.

A technical violation might be something like missing curfew, failing to maintain employment, or missing a meeting with...

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