Friday, March 2, 2007

Early Release Under Scrutiny

Yesterday's P-I had an article looking at the state's system for releasing inmates to community supervision when they are deemed to have a low risk of reoffending. The scoring system and the supervision don't always work, and some reoffend. State routinely gambles on release of felons, Seattle P-I, March 1, 2007.

"More than 100 have committed violent crimes" sounds scary but I'm not sure it's solid proof that the program isn't working, since there are 26,000 felons in the program. 122/26,000 = about 1/2 percent. So up to 99.5% of the people in the program haven't reoffended.

Of course rape, murder, assault, robbery, and so on are bad. Really, I'm very much against them. I'm not saying we should just shrug our shoulders and say "Oh, well." But these individuals might have reoffended if they had served their full sentences behind bars -- they just might have done so a year or two later. How safe can we make ourselves?

The article says that Gov. Gregoire "has demanded a report on community supervision from Corrections Secretary Harold Clarke" and "issued a strongly worded statement demanding that he find a way to keep violators locked up." The Governor's directive that offenders serve their full terms is here.

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