January 31, 2012

Recent Study Produces Local-Level Recidivism Statistics for Parolees in New York City

In 2009, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that 1.4 million adults had spent at least some time on parole supervision nationally and of those exiting supervision during that same year, 34% were re-incarcerated and 11% had another unsuccessful outcome, including revocation without incarceration or absconding (Glaze and Bonzcar, 2010). There is not much information, however, on parolees in local jurisdictions that are often home to a large number of formerly incarcerated persons. For example, New York City accounts for the majority of parolees supervised in New York State (56%). An understanding of the outcomes of New York City parolees can help community corrections officials focus their efforts on a local level to improve outcomes for individuals and the overall system...

...Almost one-fourth (23%) were returned to prison on a technical violation which occurs when parolees violate the conditions of their supervised release (can include an arrest for a new crime or conviction for a misdemeanor offense). Only 6% of parolees were returned to prison as a result of a new felony conviction. The rate of return to prison for New York City (29%) is lower than the national average of 34% reported in the Bureau of Justice Statistics 2009 Report.

A promising result of this study was that the revocation rates have declined over time since the early 2000s (from 32% of individuals released in 2002 to 26% of individuals released in 2006). Possible explanations for this finding as well as additional results are discussed further in the report.

For complete article, see:
Recent Study Produces Local-Level Recidivism Statistics for Parolees in New York City, by Bryn Herrschaft, Senior Research Associate, Center for Court Innovation, January 30 2012

For full report:
Recidivism Among Parolees in New York City, 2001-2008, by Bryn A. Herrschaft with Zachary Hamilton, Center for Court Innovation, November 2011

January 15, 2012

Building Bridges - January 2012 edition

The January edition of Building Bridges has been issued by the Prison Action Network.

Articles in this issue include the following:

1. Crime After Crime, a powerful documentary film about a woman who was sentenced to 25-Life for her role in the death of her abusive boyfriend. She and a pair of pro-bono rookie attorneys take viewers with them as they encounter the corrupt and politically driven twists and turns of the criminal justice system. Free showing includes discussion with one of the lawyers and the legislators who are sponsoring the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, A7874/S5436.

2. Legislation - Update on the status of last year’s major CJ bills. Most are back in committee, starting over, but some have made significant movement:

A7782/S5427 - Aubry/Hassell-Thompson BAN THE BOX BILL
Was reintroduced in the Assembly and then sent to Investigations and Government Operations.

S0107/A5355 - Montgomery/Aubry EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Was vetoed by Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee last session. It’s been referred back to the Committee this session, and also to the Assembly’s Crime Committee.

S0338/A0154 - Montgomery/Aubry MERIT TIME BILL
Has been referred back to the Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee where it was defeated last session.

S0476-A/A7870 - Nozzolio/Tediso $7 CO-PAYMENTS FOR PRISON MEDICAL CARE
Was referred back to the Assembly where it died, and was returned to the Senate where it was sent to the Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee.

S2057 - Kruger no Assembly bill 85% OF MINIMUM (of an indeterminate sentence) MUST BE SERVED.
Has not been reintroduced so far.

Referred to Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee, amended, and sent back, but not reintroduced in Assembly so far.

S3645-C/A 7015-B - Griffo/Spano “BRITTANY’S LAW” VFO REGISTRY
Died in Assembly, sent back to Senate, referred to Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee.

S3747/A8478 - Nozzolio/Giglio FRP BILL
Died in Assembly, returned to Senate, referred to Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee.

S5374/A7939 - Duane/Aubry THE SAFE PAROLE ACT
Senator Perkins and Assembly Members Stevenson, Farrel, and Gottfried have added their names as sponsors.

3. NYS Parole Reform Campaign invites readers to attend their workshop at the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Weekend, on February 18 in Albany. This is part of a series of social, civil and criminal justice workshops.

4. NYS Prisoner Justice believes these are the worst of times and the best of times. The best is the many movements and campaigns that are working to solve social problems by providing people with positive opportunities to realize their potential and contribute to their communities. The worst is that after hundreds of years racism is still thriving, now through the mass incarceration of predominately poor and Black people. We haven’t won the war, but we haven’t lost it either.

5. Parole News takes five pages to report this month! November and December statistics; a year-end summary; memo to the Parole Board from Chairwoman Evans; Thwaites and Graziano court decisions.

6. Prisoners of the Census - a victory! Prisoners will be counted in their home districts for redistricting purposes. Kudos to the Prison Policy Institute which was instrumental in exposing the inequities of counting prisoners where they are incarcerated.

January 07, 2012

State Loosens Leash on Parolees, So Fewer Are Rejailed

In New York State, every parolee is released from prison with an agreement to follow thirteen rules, including reporting any contact with the police. Breaking a rule can be grounds for re-imprisonment.

Now New York has revamped its policy, having concluded that it does not always make sense to jail parole violators for minor infractions of the rules.

Following the lead of other states and an in-house sentencing commission, New York has adopted guidelines that classify parolees as low or high risk using risk factors including attitudes toward criminality, mental health, access to stable housing and criminal history. Their supervision is tailored accordingly, in the hope of reducing recidivism rates.

The new guidelines took effect on January 1 2012.

Full story:
State Loosens Leash on Parolees, So Fewer Are Rejailed, by Joseph Walker (New York Times City Room, January 6, 2012)