New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has asked the city’s Department of Investigation to study how a commission of mayoral appointees decided to grant early jail release to former State Senator Guy Velella, the New York Times reports. The mayor suggested that the panel should be abolished. Velella was released Tuesday at the direction of the Local Conditional Release Commission after he served 3 months of a 12-month sentence in a conspiracy and bribery case. Such panels were authorized by the state in 1989 as a means of reducing jail overcrowding. Bloomberg said they were set up “when there was a totally different situation existing in our jails. I think the commission has probably long since outlived its usefulness.”
The mayor also has asked investigators to look into whether someone tried to influence the panel through his administration. How the panel acted and what they did, we’ll have to see,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “The public has the right to know.” As a state senator, Velella supported a bill to abolish the panel.