PA Debate: Would Reducing Parole Prevent Crime?


Standing next to photos of three men accused in the killing of Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, Pennsylvania State Rep. John Perzel issued this message: Violent offender – no parole, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “In the event that the Board of Probation and Parole did what the system provided,” said Rep. John Taylor, “the very system of parole no longer works, and we have to make drastic changes to the system.” The lawmakers would eliminate parole and early-release programs for any offender convicted of rape, robbery, murder, aggravated assault, or any crime with a gun.

Malik Aziz of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s Office for the Reentry of Ex-Offenders, said that a law eliminating parole was not the solution. The state released 16,832 last year; 23 percent were considered violent offenders. It was not clear how many of that group were paroled. William DiMascio of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, called the proposal a “knee-jerk response.” As of March 31, there were 31,333 ex-offenders on probation or parole in Pennsylvania, an average of 70 cases for every officer. “If we eliminate parole,” DiMascio said, “then we’re just going to let inmates out of prison without any supervision at all. That’s not going to enhance public safety. It’s going to make things a lot worse.”


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