Saturday, July 23, 2011

Boston Mag: PA Right on Parole

Boston Magazine article praises PA parole system. Jean Trounstine write "Patrick's Folly" Parole Reform in Masachusetts" in the August issue of Boston Magazine (article does not appear to be online):

“We can also pay attention to what’s happened in other states. Returning to the Pennsylvania example from earlier, two police officers in that state were killed in 2008 by three men on parole, all originally convicted for violent crimes. Pennsylvania is hardly known as soft on crime—its prison population at the time was the fastest-growing in the country. In the immediate aftermath of the killings, just as in our state, the governor temporarily froze some parole hearings. However, unlike what would later happen in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania set up an independent review, tasking John Goldkamp, the criminal justice department chair at Temple University, to investigate the matter.

Goldkamp’s reports, some done quickly but some taking more than a year, found 58 parole issues that needed improvement. His reports paved the way for the state to create stricter supervision and more support for parolees, develop a new parole classification system, and implement a tool to measure parolees’ dangerousness. What the state did not do was pass a bill that eliminated the possibility of parole, or increase violent-offender sentencing for second and third strikes.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing estimated that if a three strikes bill had been passed, the state would have had to build four new prisons, costing $800 million, to accommodate all the extra prisoners. And additional millions would have been required to house them behind bars.

Always interesting to know what other places think we're doing right.

No comments: