a bird and a bottle

As promised
April 11, 2007, 4:16 pm
Filed under: blogsturbation, civil rights, criminal justice

Here’s the link to my Lawyers Guns & Money post for today: The Empty Promise of Parole.



5 Comments so far
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I wonder if it’ll make things better to require that parole boards be appointed by some sort of consensus – say, the Governor and a two-thirds majority in the State Senate.

On another note, does the parole system even do anything useful? For example, does it reduce recidivism rates at all, or promote reintegration into society? If not, it doesn’t have much on systems like the one in Britain, where the sentence is always reduced by one third unless the prisoner commits a crime or serious infraction while in jail.

Comment by Alon Levy

Alon –

First of all, in the U.S. — or at least in NY — the crime always is reduced so long as the person behaves well. Usually, not even considering parole, people serve 5/6 or 7/8 of their sentences because of “good time.”

Your other question is harder. I doubt that parole boards actually DO do anything useful — except for sometimes let out people who shouldn’t be locked up anymore.

My question: what do you advocate in the alternative? Shorter sentences across the board? Something else completely?

Comment by bean

Shorter sentences, generally. But for crimes like murder and rape, it makes sense to have variable sentences – “10 to life” – except that instead of parole, early release should be final. Whenever an ex-felon commits a similar crime, the justice system already considers past history as an aggravating factor (I think), so a crime that gets a first offender 8 years might get a repeat offender 12.

Comment by Alon Levy

When you say that “early release should be final” do you mean that, unlike parole, it should hve no conditions attached?

Comment by bean

Yeah. Well, obviously if the person commits another crime he should go back to jail, but that’s different from requiring people to report to a parole officer, observe curfew, etc.

Comment by Alon Levy

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