New NY Parole Board Rule Could Mean Major Changes
When the New York Parole Board considers releasing someone on parole, they take several things into consideration including the crime that landed the inmate in prison, their progress while in prison, and their criminal history. Up until now, some considerations were merely advisory. Now, however, the board will be required to consider rehabilitation and recidivism in their reviews, a change that could lead to major changes in who is released and the number of parolees overall.
The change was “nestled into budget legislation” this year and changes the wording of Executive Law 259(c). As of November 1, the board will be required to establish and apply “risk and needs principles to measure the rehabilitation of persons appearing before the board.” Before, the board was told it “could” consider these factors.
A “growing body of social science research” about recidivism and post-release needs supports the shift in policy. By looking at whether or not an inmate will reoffend, the board can make decisions that truly line up with the goal of public safety rather than solely one of retribution and punishment.
Case in point—76-year old Winston Moseley, convicted in the brutal murder of Kitty Genovese 47 years ago will be coming up for parole the week the rule change takes effect. His crime was gruesome, where he attacked the young woman on the streets of Queens, stabbing her to death and raping her. He admitted to several other murders and rapes before being incarcerated for this charge. Mr. Moseley also escaped custody in 1968 and tied a man up and raped his wife. There’s no question the crimes and his criminal history are monstrous.
But, statistically, Mr. Moseley is extremely unlikely to reoffend, given his age, among other things. Will the parole board take this new rule to extreme and parole someone with such a dark past or will they stand by what they’ve been doing for years? Time will tell.
The Moseley case is definitely one extreme, so it will be interesting to see how the rule is applied to those that fall more towards the center of the pendulum. In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the board paroled 40% of eligible inmates, but only 9% of the violent felony offenders, showing an obvious reluctance to release those accused of violent crimes against people.
The job of the parole board is to balance the needs of the state and public safety with the needs of the offender, among other things. Like the courts, however, they often err on the side of safety.
When you are facing criminal charges in New York, a parole hearing doesn’t even enter the equation. But the same considerations like your criminal history and the likelihood that you’ll reoffend should. The judge will consider these things at sentencing.
Contact our NY Defense Lawyers today to discuss your case and how these factors could influence the outcome.