On June 13, 2022, the ACLU of Kansas filed an amicus brief in State of Kansas v. Edwanda R. Garrett challenging the constitutionality of K.S.A. 21-6608(c)(7), which currently prolongs probation for “as long as the amount of restitution order has not been paid”. By ensuring that low- and no-income people are subjected to longer and harsher punishment than their wealthier counterparts for simply being unable to pay, the statute violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Continued probation constitutes punishment by depriving people of their fundamental right to live and move about the world freely, subjecting them to mandatory reporting, intrusive questioning, potential surveillance, and a long list of conditions that make compliance challenging. These conditions often set people up for failure, landing them in prison, and in Kansas, probation violations constitute as much as 20% of all prison admissions. Additionally, extended probation has implications for other fundamental rights violations on the basis of poverty, including the right to vote.