Thirteen days after Howard McJunkin was paroled from a Texas Youth Commission facility for beating and raping an elderly woman, authorities say he committed the same crime again, reports the Houston Chronicle. McJunkin is one of 2,200 offenders the agency rushed to release this year as part of an effort to reduce drastically the population of the scandal-plagued juvenile corrections system. Nearly one in five of those parolees – 408 – have been rearrested for committing new offenses.
While high recidivism rates have long been a fact of life for the agency – 50 percent of parolees offend again within three years – the rapid rearrests of offenders released in a hurry this year has people demanding to know who’s getting out, and how are decisions being made. A spokesman said the agency is doing as much as it can to assess the risk of offenders and releases only those who are suitable parole candidates. “There are people who are going to get out and re-offend. We know that,” said spokesman Jim Hurley. “These kinds of things happen in every state in the union and in every country in the world. Somebody gets paroled and they commit another crime. It is horrific that these things happen but we have to make decisions based on the law.”