April 07, 2012

New York Still in Need of Parole Reform

An important article giving an overview of the need for parole reform has been published in the Spring 2012 issue of Atticus, produced by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL)

Applying old backward-looking static factors while attempting to follow the new dynamic procedures for parole release decision-making based upon present and future-looking risk and needs principles creates a contradiction that the Parole Board will find very difficult to reconcile.

"Stated simply, the newly amended Executive Law § 259-c(4) is incompatible with the archaic Executive Law § 259-i. There is a significant contradiction between the old parole decision making factors in Executive Law § 259-i(2)(c)(A) and the newly amended forward-looking risk and needs principle shift contemplated by Executive Law § 259-c(4). Problematic decisions like the one in Matter of Thwaites will continue to trouble the courts and wreak havoc with parole release until Executive Law § 259-i is modernized. That is exactly what the SAFE Parole Act will do as it will eliminate the contradiction between the remnants of an old decision-making system that looks backward at the "seriousness of the crime" and a present and forward-looking procedure that relies on risk and needs principles."

For complete article:
New York Still in Need of Parole Reform, by Alan Rosenthal and Patricia Warth (Atticus, Volume 24 No.1, Spring 2012, pages 11-15)