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Interstate Compact - Discretionary Transfer

All 50 states and some US territories have entered into an agreement whereby adult probationers can be transferred from one state to another for their probation supervision. The states have agreed and enacted a very detailed set of rules defining which probationers may be transferred from one state to another, and which probationers may not be transferred.

That language – "which probationers may not be transferred" – may be concerning for some readers who are hoping to move to a new state (or return to their home state) while on probation. The concern would be well-founded. Unfortunately in many cases, another state is not required to accept a probationer on to their rolls.

There are circumstances in which the transfer is mandatory, i.e. the receiving state is required under the interstate compact rules to accept the probationer. However, in many cases it is completely within the discretion of the "receiving" state to accept or reject the probationer.

The brief guideline for discretionary transfer of probation supervision is set forth in rule 3.101-2 of the interstate compact rules. The rule requires, in the case of discretionary transfers, that the sending State provide "sufficient documentation" that would justify the transfer request that they are making. "Sufficient documentation" may amount to any good argument as to why the probationer should be transferred. For example, there may be a job opportunity, although one that has not yet come to fruition, in the new state. The probationer might have a support system of some kind in the new state, or perhaps has no support system in the current state (or perhaps the probationer would simply be better off elsewhere as all the associates in the original state are engaged in criminal activity…). In short, the "sufficient documentation" can be founded on any good reason that is not covered by the mandatory transfer provisions.

Note however that in addition to having the complete discretion as to whether to accept or reject the discretionary transfer, the receiving state may also impose special terms on a discretionary transfer case. They may impose special conditions of probation that, if not followed, will result in the return of the probationer to the sending State.